Treatment for oesophageal cancer

There are many different types of treatment for oesophageal cancer. Your treatment will depend on you and your cancer.

Treatment for oesophageal cancer is based on the type of oesophageal cancer you have and its stage, your overall health and treatment preferences. This may involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapies and immunotherapy.

Surgery is often the primary form of treatment, where part or all of the oesophagus is removed.

  • Surgery – may involve removing individual tumours, part of the oesophagus (oesophagectomy) or the entire oesophagus and upper portion of the stomach (oesophagogastrectomy)
  • Radiation therapyuses high-energy particles to target and destroy cancer cells. Radiation therapy is often delivered in combination with chemotherapy and/or surgery for oesophageal cancer.
  • Chemotherapyinvolves the use of anti-cancer drugs which are taken orally (by mouth) or injected into the body. Chemotherapy is often used before or after surgery for oesophageal cancer, or in people with advanced cancer that has spread beyond the oesophagus
  • Targeted therapies – focuses specifically on treating the oesophageal cancer through targeting cancer cells, and not healthy cells. Targeted therapies are often combined with chemotherapy for advanced cancers or those that don’t respond to treatment
  • Immunotherapy – uses your immune system to slow the growth of cancer cells and destroy existing cancer cells. You may receive immunotherapy if your oesophageal cancer is advanced, has come back or has spread to other areas of the body.


For a full list of references, click here.
  1. Mayo Clinic. (2020). Esophageal cancer. Retrieved on 17 March 2021 from
  2. Cancer Council. (2019). Oesophageal cancer. Retrieved on 17 March 2021 from
  3. healthdirect. (2020). Oesophageal cancer. Retrieved on 17 March 2021 from
  4. HealthHub. (2019). Esophageal (Oesophageal) Cancer: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment. Retrieved on 17 March 2021 from

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