Having oesophageal cancer can have a big impact on your life, but support is available to help you cope.
This page has information and advice about:
You may haveswallowing difficultiesduring and after treatment for oesophageal cancer.
There are treatments that can help including surgery to place a hollow tube (stent) in your oesophagus,or a combination of chemotherapy and Radiotherapy although they may not work immediately.
You might need to have a temporary feeding tube placed or fluids given through a drip inserted in a vein to begin with, before moving onto fluids by mouth and soft foods. You may eventually be able to eat solid food.
Aspeech and language therapist can assess yourability to swallow andsuggest ways to overcome any problems.A dietitian can also help with any changes you need to maketo your diet.
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Coping with a diagnosis of cancer can be very difficult.You may find ithelpful to:
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Having oesophageal cancer doesn't necessarily mean you'll have to give up work, althoughyou may need quite a lot of time off. During treatment, you may not be able to carry on as you did before.
If you have cancer, you're covered by the Disability Discrimination Act . This means that your employer isn't allowed to discriminate against you because of your illness.
They have a duty to make "reasonable adjustments" to help you cope, such as:
You should give your employer as much information as possible about how much time you'll need off and when. Speak toa member of your human resources department, if you have one.
If you're having difficulties with your employer youmay be able to get help fromyour union,association representative or local Citizens Advice Bureau .
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If you have to reduce or stop work because of your cancer, you may find it difficult to cope financially.You may be entitled to financial support:
It's a good idea to find out what help is available as soon as possible. You could ask to speak to the social worker at your hospital, who can give you the information you need.
People being treated for cancer are entitled to apply for an exemption certificate giving free prescriptions for all medication, including treatments for unrelated conditions.
The certificate is valid for five years. You can apply for a certificate by speaking to your GP or cancer specialist.
If you're told there is nothing more that can be done to treat your oesophageal cancer or you decide to decline treatment, your GP or care team will provide you with support and pain relief. This is called palliative care.
You can choose to receive palliative care:
Your doctor or care teamshould work with you to establish a clear plan based on your wishes.
Being a carer isn't easy. It can beemotionally andphysically draining, and make it easy for you to forget your own health and mental wellbeing.
But putting yourself last doesn't work in the long-term. If you're caring for someone else, it's important to look after yourself and get as much help as possible.
It's in your best interests, as well as those of the person you are caring for.
and carers' breaks and respite care .
Find out about oesophageal cancer, including what the symptoms are, why it occurs and what the main treatments are.
Find out about the main symptoms of oesophageal cancer and when to get medical advice.
Find out about the things that can increase your risk of oesophageal cancer, including GORD, alcohol, smoking, obesity and an unhealthy diet.
Find out how oesophageal is diagnosed, including which tests you may need to have.
Find out about the main treatments for oesophageal cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Find information and advice about living with oesophageal cancer, including how your diet may change and what financial support is available.