When can we expect a tumour to reduce in size during treatment

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My friend has OC which completely blocks her gullet the consequent reflux and constant spitting out of saliva as it has nowhere to go is really distressing her. She has completed 5 weeks radiotherapy and 2 rounds of chemotherapy so far . No operation. In anyones experience when can she expect a reduction in the tumour so at least saliva can go down the gullet as this would make her feel a lot better . Thanks 

  • Hi

    I was in a similar situation, I had a tumour, mid-oesophagus, that blocked my oesophagus completely. I couldn't swallow saliva either, it would just gather then I'd have to spit it out. I found that talking created saliva, so I resorted to speaking as little as possible, instead I messaged everyone on my phone, even my partner when he was in the same room. I know that sounds silly but that's how bad it was. 

    I had chemoradiation, no operation, as it was squamous cell carcinoma. I had 4 cisplatin by IV, capecitabine tablets for 12 weeks, and 25 radiotherapy which started on the same day as the 3rd cisplatin. After the first chemo my tumour shrank a lot and I was able to swallow a bit so my problem with saliva stopped. 

    I'm sorry that your friend is still suffering so much. How many more chemo rounds has she got? 


  • Hi Amanda

    What is the difference between your type of cancer and the adenocarcinoma type that means you are inelligible for an operation? 



  • Thankyou for that reply Amanda and I'm so sorry what you've been through too. She Has the same type of cancer as you had. I don't know all the details of her treatment but will pass on what you said ? She is too poorly to take part in forums etc herself

  • Hi Anthony

    Squamous cell carcinoma responds better to radiotherapy & chemotherapy than adenocarcinoma does, so sometimes the treatment plan is chemoradiation (ie both chemo and radiotherapy at the same time). It's a different type of chemo to that which treats adenocarcinomas. I had cisplatin and capecitabine. At the beginning of my chemo I was told that I may have to have the operation afterwards but it worked well so that it was decided that I didn't need it - yet. There are people on this forum that had squamous cell carcinoma who had chemoradiation and then the operation.

    I am part of the SCOPE2 trial, where patients were randomly selected to have a higher dose of radiotherapy to see if it had a better outcome. I wasn't chosen, I had the standard dose. It's worked really well for me and I'm very grateful. As the affected area is still there, I have a lot of check ups. For the first two years I had a gastroscopy with dye (the dye shows up cancer cells) every 3 months and a PET scan alternating with a CT scan around the same time. I'm now on 6 monthly tests. Last week I had my 10th gastroscopy with dye and I've got my CT scan next week (no more PET scans, just CT scans). 

    The radiotherapy causes scarring of the oesophagus which makes is narrower. A lot of people have to have it dilated, and sometimes stents are needed.

    Hope that helps. 


  • Thank you for the explanation Amanda and all the very best to you!