Esophageal Cancer: Newly Diagnosed

Being told you have esophageal cancer can be scary, and you may have many questions. Know that you have people on your healthcare team who can help.

Coping with fear

It’s normal to feel afraid. Learning about your cancer and your treatment options can help you feel less scared. It also helps you work with your healthcare team and make the best choices for your treatment.

Working with your healthcare team

You will likely have different types of doctors on your healthcare team. These might include the following:

  • Gastroenterologist. This doctor specializes in treating diseases of the digestive or gastrointestinal system.

  • Thoracic surgeon. This doctor uses surgery to treat diseases in the chest. The medical word for chest is thorax.

  • Medical oncologist. This doctor specializes in treating cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy or targeted therapy.

  • Radiation oncologist. This doctor specializes in treating cancer with radiation.

Many other healthcare providers will be part of your team, too. They will answer any questions you may have. They’ll help you through each of the steps you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests you need and the results of those tests. They’ll guide you in making treatment decisions. They’ll also help prepare you and your loved ones for what’s ahead.

Learning about treatment options

To decide the best course of treatment for you, your healthcare team needs to know as much as they can about your cancer. This involves getting tests and working with more than one healthcare provider. And you may decide that you want to get a second opinion to help you choose a treatment and feel good about the choices you make.

Getting support

Coping with cancer can be very stressful. Talk with your healthcare team about seeing a counselor. They can refer you to someone who can help. You can also join support groups to talk with other people coping with esophageal cancer. Ask your healthcare team about local or online support groups.

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