Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. It may be given alone or with other treatments.
Treatment that uses drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Chemotherapy may be given by mouth, injection, infusion or on the skin, depending on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. It may be given alone or with other treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy or biologic therapy.
The use of high-energy radiation from X-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.
The use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, protons and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that travels in the blood to tissues throughout the body.
A problem that occurs when treatment affects healthy tissues or organs. Some side effects of cancer treatment are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, pain, decreased blood cell counts, hair loss and mouth sores.
You may have radiation therapy:
- Before surgery to shrink your tumor
- After surgery to destroy any remaining cancer cells
- To control your disease if you’re not a candidate for surgery
- To help with the effects of your cancer, such as a blocked esophagus
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. Two main types are used for esophageal cancer:
- External-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) using X-rays
- Proton therapy, a unique form of EBRT that targets protons at tumors
EBRT uses a machine called a linear accelerator to deliver invisible beams of radiation to your cancer. At our state-of-the-art radiation centers, we use four-dimensional scans to plan your care and account for the movement of your tumor as you breath. Using image guidance, we aim the beams precisely at your tumor at each treatment.
Combining chemotherapy and radiation (chemoradiation) is common for esophageal cancer because chemotherapy medicines can make cancer cells more sensitive to radiation. Our highly trained specialists have extensive experience caring for people who are going through this aggressive form of treatment.
Proton therapy is an advanced therapy and an important alternative to conventional radiation for many types of cancer (and some noncancerous tumors).
Proton therapy is sometimes recommended for esophageal cancer because it may significantly limit radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue near your esophagus, such as your heart and lungs. The advantage of using protons to treat this cancer is that doctors can target high doses of radiation at the cancer with the goal of minimizing radiation to healthy tissues. This may reduce side effects.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center - Proton Therapy is the only facility in a seven-state region to offer this treatment. Learn more about proton therapy for gastrointestinal cancers.