If your family doctor suspects you have esophageal cancer, you may be referred to a number of doctors who will help to evaluate your condition. Your health care team may include doctors who:
- Evaluate the esophagus (gastroenterologists)
- Treat cancer with chemotherapy and other medications (oncologists)
- Perform surgery (surgeons)
- Use radiation to treat cancer (radiation oncologists)
To get the most from your appointment, it's a good idea to be well-prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and to know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. For esophageal cancer, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Where is my esophageal cancer?
- How advanced is my cancer?
- Can you explain the pathology report to me?
- What other tests do I need?
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the potential side effects of each treatment option?
- Is there one treatment option you feel is the best?
- What would you recommend to a friend or family member in my situation?
- Should I see a specialist?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- What will determine whether I should plan for a follow-up visit?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions that occur to you during your appointment.
May 15, 2014
- Esophageal and esophagogastric junction cancers. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Feb. 14, 2014.
- Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 14, 2014.
- Cameron JL, et al., eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 14, 2014.
- What you need to know about cancer of the esophagus. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/esophagus. Accessed Feb. 14, 2014.
- Adult cancer pain. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Feb. 14, 2014.
- Golden AK. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 5, 2013.