Effects of Esophageal Cancer Treatments

Cancer treatment is geared toward positive outcomes, such as removing the cancer, reducing tumor size and preventing recurrence. However, many of the treatments used to accomplish that have their own challenges for our bodies. Prior knowledge of what to expect helps in treatment decision-making and getting the support you need to deal with these effects.

Fatigue: The most common effect of cancer treatment, this fatigue is different than the kind healthy people experience. It can result from any type of cancer treatment.

Dehydration: Replacing lost fluids is critical to health during treatment.

Nausea and vomiting: These can be serious consequences of cancer treatment and must be controlled so cancer therapy can continue and you can live your normal life.

Nutrition: Healthy diets and good nutrition are especially important for cancer patients, but the treatment may impact your ability to get adequate nutrition without the help of professionals. During treatment, you may need a feeding tube while your esophagus heals.

Pain: Tumors, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy can all cause pain with cancer.

Peripheral neuropathy: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a set of symptoms caused by damage to the nerves that control the sensation of arms and legs, causing numbness, tingling and pain.

Sleep Disorders: More common in people with cancer, sleep may be disturbed by the cancer, pain, or certain drugs or treatments.

Temporary Hair Loss: Some chemotherapies cause hair loss, but it grows back after completion of therapy.

Vocal changes: Anything that affects the esophagus can have an impact on voice quality.


Cardio-oncology is a new medical discipline focused on optimally treating any associated heart conditions in patients who have been treated for cancer, or are currently being treated for cancer. Specialized cardiologists can assess patients for the potential risk of developing certain heart conditions, especially if they are receiving particular types of cancer drugs, or following radiation treatment to the chest.