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Doctor insights on: Pet Ct Esophageal Cancer Initial Staging

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What does a pet scan of my esophageal cancer show that a CT scan doesn't?

What does a pet scan of my esophageal cancer show that a CT scan doesn't?

Metastasis: A pet scan is helpful in identifying metastasis of the cancer, or spread to other organs such as the liver or bone, as well as spread to adjacent or distant lymph nodes. Abnormal images on the pet scan will glow with metabolic activity. ...Read more

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Dr. Zahid Niazi
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Computed Tomography (Definition)

Computed tomography is also known as CT scan. Ct uses xrays taken an 360 degrees combined with a computer to see"inside" the body. The table moves as the xray tube and detectors spin around the patient 10 times a second or more! the image shows excellent soft tissue detail, enhanced with injection of intravenous contrast or oral contrast. This way the body is shown in slices, in any plane, usually axially, but ...Read more


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If I get radiation and chemotherapy for my esophageal cancer and have clean CT and pet scans, will I still need surgery?

If I get radiation and chemotherapy for my esophageal cancer and have clean CT and pet scans, will I still need surgery?

Maybe: Therapy for esophageal cancer is dependent on the stage. There are IV relative stages. In the physically fit patient, the upfront therapy for stage i and iia is surgery. For stages iib and iii, the therapy of choice is chemoradiation followed by surgery. For stage iv, chemotherapy +/- radiation and no surgery. That being said 15-20% have complete eradication of tumor after chemoradiation. ...Read more

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Living with Skin Cancer (Checklist)

Avoid sun exposure between 10 am and 2 pm
daily
Apply sunscreen
2x day
Wear a hat outdoors on sunny days
daily
See dermatologist for check ups
2x year
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Is it possible for a cancer patient receiving chemo/ rad to develop cancer in an unrelated area? My 64 yr old father has esophageal cancer. In preparing for surgery he had a CT scan done and a 'spot' on his lung has been detected. Biopsy is scheduled, but

I : I hope your father is recovering well from his treatment and that the lung spot is nothing as many of us will have spots on ct scans. Unfortunately, however, esophageal cancer often travels (e.g. Metastasizes) to the lung. Sometimes we can help determine the need for a biopsy with a pet/ct scan which is usually part of the standard pre-surgery or pre-chemo/radiation work up for patients with esophagus cancer. The way you describe things, it sounds like the spot in the lung was found before surgery and that his doctors decided to do chemotherapy and radiation either instead of surgery or before it to try to shrink the tumor before they do an operation. If the esophagus cancer has spread to the lung, chemotherapy by itself is the best treatment. Surgery to remove the esophagus cancer is not helpful and radiation to the esophageal tumor should probably only be done if the tumor is causing symptoms that the chemotherapy is unlikely to make better on its own. In this case a short course of radiation over about 2-3 weeks would be given to try to shrink the tumor and relieve the symptoms it is causing. This is because the cancer has spread and trying to remove it from the esophagus or kill every last cell in the esophagus tumor with high-dose radiation will probably not help the patient live longer nor help him/her have a better quality of life. Therefore, if a suspicious 'spot' is found in the lung before surgery or chemotherapy and radiation, we usually biopsy it before starting treatment to make sure we don't give someone too aggressive a treatment that is unlikely to help them much. Very, very rarely, an otherwise healthy patient with esophageal cancer might have what we call "oligometastatic" disease. This means that the cancer has spread to only a few (usually 1-3) other organs or spots in the body. In this rare case, it might be reasonable to give a full course of chemotherapy and radiation to the esophagus tumor as long as the lung spot could be treated with a full dose of radiation at the same time. I've also seen patients who have unfortunately had a tumor that started in the lung (lung cancer) and one that started in the esophagus (esophageal cancer) diagnosed at the same time. In this rare case, if neither of the tumors have spread to other parts of the body, it might be reasonable to treat them both with the goal of a cure. ...Read more

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What can I do if I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer?

What can I do if I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer?

Determine stage: Stage i through iii is potentially curable via surgery +/- chemoradiotherapy. Sees board certified thoracic surgeon or medical oncologist. ...Read more

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Managing Pain from Cancer (Checklist)

Ask oncologist to refer you to cancer pain specialist
Once
Ask pain specialist about both interventional and medication options
Once
If pancreatic cancer, ask about a celiac plexus block
Once
If neuropathy, request trial of ketamine-based topical creams
Once
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What follow-up care is necessary during recovery after surgery for esophageal cancer?

What follow-up care is necessary during recovery after surgery for esophageal cancer?

Close followup: Both the surgeon, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist must be involved in your followup care. Depending on the stage, you may involve all 3 of these specialists who will mainly follow you by physical exams, ct scans and occasionally pet/ct scans. ...Read more

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Is it actually true that an MRI of the neck will detect esophageal cancer?

Is it actually true that an MRI of the neck will detect esophageal cancer?

See answer: The majority of the esophagus is in the chest, not the neck. Depending on the field of view, the esophagus may not be included in the scanned territory. The best way to assess esophageal carcinoma is with endoscopy, not MRI – talk to your gastroenterologist. ...Read more

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How often will I need to have endoscopies after my esophageal cancer surgery?

How often will I need to have endoscopies after my esophageal cancer surgery?

Maybe 0: Patients who undergo surgery for esophageal cancer are generally enrolled in a surveillance program. This may entail chest ct scans every 4 months for 2 years, than every 6 months for 1 year, then once a year. Suspicious things on ct scan can be followed up with a pet scan. Routine surveillance endoscopy is not necessary, unless used for addressing symptoms. ...Read more

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Staging (Definition)

Many diseases have specific treatments based on their severity. A disease can have certain criteria to determine their severity and applying this criteria to determine how advanced the disease state is called staging. Most commonly this is applied to cancer, and be determining how far the cancer has spread locally and/or to distant sites a stage of cancer can be ...Read more


Dr. David Cooke
204 doctors shared insights

Esophageal Cancer (Definition)

Esophageal cancer is cancer of the esophagus, which is a muscular tube-like structure that connects the throat to the stomach. Symptoms include difficulty swallowing, pain with swallowing, vomiting, and coughing. Long standing heartburn may lead to changes in the tissue of the esophagus that is associated with higher risk of cancer. Tobacco and alcohol ...Read more