A relative was diagnosed with esophageal cancer yesterday. Since then, I’ve been searching the web for information on this disease, and I’ve found a few informative sites. But there are still some questions left open, and I hope you’ll be able to help me out:
I can’t find any conclusive data on survival rates. I’ve found some raw data (e.g., the SEER Cancer Statistics Review or the WHO Cancer Mortality Databank), but I seem to be unable to interpret it. What I’d like is something like a probability of being cured, a life expectancy, or a 5-year survival rate. I’ve already noticed that the general outlook is poor, so you can be frank.
I can’t find anything on heredity. The patient’s mother died of the same disease, which has her (and her siblings and descendants) worried.
What are the methods of early recognition of EC (for the worried relatives), and how good are they?
Now, before you tell me to go ask the doctor: It’s not possible for me, and the patient herself is not very good at either discussing such things with a doctor or at retelling what she was told. I could have asked my own doctor, but I think there’s more combined knowledge on this board.
Oh, and here’s what I can tell you about the patient, if it’s any help: She’s female, white, in her late 50s, a lifelong smoker, of average general health, lives in Germany. The tumor is located right under the larynx (cervical esophagus?), and judging from the doctors’ excitement, it seems to have developed pretty far, though I don’t have a TNM classification. But she’s had major problems swallowing for at least 6-8 weeks (treated for laringitis by the first two doctors!) and can hardly even drink anymore (also lost a lot of weight). So my layman’s guess would be T2 or T3, Nx, Mx, thus stage IIa. They wanted to perform surgery right away, but she refused and is now scheduled for next week, so they seem to be in a hurry. AFAIK, this surgery is the only treatment they’ve planned so far. (They’ll replace some of the esophagus with a piece of intestine.)
Hm, long post. I hope you can come up with some helpful information. Thanks a lot in advance.