Non-surgical treatment for oesophageal cancer.

I was diagnosed with oesophageal cancer Dec. 2019, T2N0M0.   I am not suitable for surgery but have had chemoT/RadioT.   Assessment after treatment was unclear, but I was told no further curative treatment was possible.  To clarify position I "went private" for a PET scan - not available on NHS - , which showed oesoph. cancer had been successfully treated, but showed up prostate cancer.   I am now trying to get into a treatmnent path in the NHS for the latter.  Yet to get a r eferral for it from my GP.

Is there anyhone else here having oesoph C who had good initial results from chemo/radio (without surgery) and what was the longer-term outcome?

  • Hello Fortie and a warm welcome to our forum! 

    Thank you for sharing your story and sorry to hear that your PET scan showed up prostate cancer. I hope treatment goes well for you and that you get a referral sorted quickly for that. 

    To answer your question, one name inevitably springs to my mind and I hope he won't mind me tagging him, it's the lovely [@davek]‍ . Dave is one of our regular contributors on the forum and from what I remember, like you he wasn't eligible for surgery for his oesophageal cancer and yet chemotherapy worked really well. I hope he will pop by to share his story with you. Obviously the details of each person's diagnosis or the reasons why someone may not have been able to have surgery will vary substantially and everyone responds to treatment differently but it's always good to hear from someone else who has been in a similar place before. 

    I hope that you will hear from other members who have had chemotherapy and radiotherapy for oesophageal cancer without going through the surgery and that they will share their own experiences with you. 

    Our nurses are also available on this free number 0808 800 4040 - their line is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm if you want to talk things through with them at any point of your treatment, whether you wish to discuss your prostate cancer, oesophageal cancer or anything else that comes to your mind.

    I hope everything goes well for you. Keep us updated if you get a chance!

    Best wishes, 

    Lucie, Cancer Chat Moderator

  • Hi Fortie,


    I’m not currently undergoing treatment but I had a very positive and unusual outcome after starting EOX chemo in 2013. In late September/early October I was given a diagnosis of T3N3M1, with a very poor prognosis. 

    Surgery and radio therapy were impossible due to the position of my primary which had grown around my aorta.

    Apparently I was a super responder to the chemo. For years I was told it was only a matter of time before it grew back again. 

    I was having six monthly then annual CT scans. Last year I asked my oncologist to view them in sequence to compare year on year. He did and then ordered a biopsys of the area. 

    Amazingly, there was no detectable sign of cancer. That was six years after my diagnosis and being told I had as little as 8 weeks to live.


    The only therapy I had was EOX chemo. No alternative or complementary treatments just chemo and an awful lot of good luck. 


    I’d hate to raise false hope but whatever statistics doctors use are only valid for large cohorts of patients. There are always outliers, like me whose data is excluded because it skews the figures. 


    Good luck!


  • Hello Dave, 

    Well thanks so much for taking the trouble to post, especially with such a positive message.  I am trying to be very thankful for the rersponse I have had for the treatment to oeso. cancer.   I can't help but be rather miffed that I was left, after my appraisal consultation with my NHS. oncol., feeling that the cancer had only stabilised and that the only direction of travel would be the lethal one.   I am so pleased that I was able to take a second private opinion and private PET scan which is apparently the only sure way (aside from biopsy) of distinguishing scarring after successful (non-surgical) therapy from cancer remaining after unsuccessful treatment.  I'll take the conclusion from the PET scan that my treatment has so far been successful glady, bolstered by your experience that it is possible to have a good outcome without surgery.  Thanks again for your post,  as is said, "you've made an old man very happy"!

    I'm  not half as worried by the news of a cancer in my prostate.   I am now in the process of getting onto some sort of treatment path for that in the NHS initially by getting a referral from my NHS GP to a urologist.

    Best wishes and good health!

  • Hi Davek

    Congratulations on your successful treatment, Can I ask if you had squamous cell or adenocarcinoma, how big and where in the oesphagus?

    My daughter has 8cm SCC tumour at the junction.

  • Offline in reply to davek

    Hi Dave, I hope you all don’t mind me jumping on this thread but I’ve just posted earlier for the first time about a prognosis we were given by my dad’s oncologist on the first appointment of seeing her before any treatment had even been discussed! Unfortunately surgery was not an option for him as pet scan showed  that he also has it in the lymph node very close to the aorta. He is a fit 80 year old and has so far had 2 cycles of Folfox chemo with very minimal side effects so far & is actually now eating absolutely everything no problem with no pain. So this seems hopeful that the chemo is working. He has adenocarcinoma at the junction (T3N1M0 or M1)& symptoms started 4 months ago with pain when eating & then not being able to eat so losing lots of weight, then was diagnosed 3 months ago after an endoscopy. He has put on 9lb in weight as eating normal again. Hoping the prognosis is wrong & unsure if prognosis given is from when symptoms started or from diagnosis or from the time we first saw the oncologist. Can anyone shed any light on this. Yours is a positive message that hopefully gives a little light to others also going through this.