Radiation & oesophageal scarring

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I hope this is the right Forum. Does anyone have experience they would share on dealing with oesophageal scarring after radiation therapy? My son has a different cancer but has been warned that if he accepts radiation therapy for it he might get scarring of his oesophagus which is close to radiation site. And that this might affect what he can eat for life.

  • Hi

    Thank you for reaching out, yes this is a good place to ask, there are several people on here who have had radiotherapy on their oesophagus, including myself. 

    I had oesophageal cancer, mid oesophagus in 2021.  I had chemo and radiotherapy. 25 doses of radiotherapy. Towards the end of the 5 weeks of radiotherapy my oesophagus became sore & inflamed - I'd been warned that it would - this made swallowing very difficult but I already had a stomach feeding tube so was ok. This lasted for a few weeks after radiotherapy ended, but did then ease over time. I have just reached 3 years all clear. My oesophagus is scarred, and it doesn't stretch as much as it used to. I have to take small bites of food and chew thoroughly. I am on 30mg Lansoprazole daily - I didn't have acid reflux before cancer but I have it now and as my oesophagus is scarred, acid reflux would really cause me problems. I stick to a plain diet. I didn't drink much prior to cancer but gave up completely as alcohol seems to irritate the area. Generally though I am fine. If the scarring narrows the oesophagus significantly, it can be stretched. 

    I hope that helps, any other questions please ask. 

    I hope your son's treatment goes well. 


  • Thank you so much for replying. It is very good to hear from someone who has been through it. I'm pleased to hear you've go to 3 years. Long may your recovery continue!

  • Hi Tannith B. I also had 25 sessions of Radiotherapy alongside Chemotherapy (around this time last year) and my experience is very similar to Crochetherapy. For me, it was during the last two weeks of treatment when swallowing food became sore and difficult and continued for 2 weeks after radiotherapy had finished. However, I was still able to eat food all the way through, but was careful with my choices when things became sore. Once the soreness went away, I had no problems eating at all. 
    Hope all goes well for your son. With best wishes, Julie

  • Thank you for your kindness in replying. My son also has to have 25 sessions of radiation to his upper chest area. In his case following a major operation for thymectomy which involved slicing through the whole of his breastbone. Unfortunately there was microscopic spread round the borders of the tumour. He is worried about long term difficulties with swallowing if it scars his oesophagus which he has been warned it could. I am glad you are eating OK now and wish you all the best for the future.