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Gullet (oesophagus) cancer

A support group for anyone affected by gullet cancer (also known as oesophageal cancer) to come together, share experiences and ask questions.

Radiotherapy pain management

Fighting Florrie
Posted by

Hi all,
I'm into my 2nd week of radiotherapy (plus weekly chemo)
Now having bad heartburn and feel as if there is a golfball lodged where the tumour is.
I take sulfasalazine for rheumatoid arthritis (2 tabs twice a day). Can't take painkillers at the same time as it creates a logjam in my gullet. I've been washing them down with Gaviscon.
I've got liquid paracetamol now  but that doesn't help the heartburn.
Had a radiotherapy review yesterday and my oncologist says it is because the radiotherapy is zapping the cancer. She gave me a liquid antacid and oxetacaine. It helps before meals and I take the liquid paracetamol between times.
I'm just interested to know what other people are doing about any pain they have.
I have 16 more sessions to go. How much worse will it get?
Thanks for any experiences and advice  you can share.

Posted by
  1. Hi Avril I completed mine exactly a year ago the chemo was not too bad but the radiotherapy was very painful I had 25 sessions but after 15 the pain was pretty bad and I lived in soups and milkshakes had the liquid oxetacaine the same as you but had to go on MST as well as everything felt like it was burning me , it did help quite a lot x
Fighting Florrie
Posted by

Hi Jackie, thank you for your reply.
I've got another 4 before my next review. I'll see how I feel after tomorrow's and decide whether I need to call the specialty nurse for advice. I've tried not to call her because I'm sure she has patients much worse off.
Still, can't keep the weight up if I can't eat.
Are you well recovered now?

Posted by

Hi Avril I am really good now thank you had my Ivor Lewis in January as a good 9 months now I have to eat smaller amounts and at a slow pace and cannot put weight on it it’s stable since may , will be thinking of you x

Posted by

Hi Avril

i had the same treatment - 25 radio sessions over 5 weeks plus weekly chemo.

My main side effect was similar - heartburn type chest pain. I couldn’t swallow anything at that time so they put me on fentanyl patches for pain.

Tthey went on my arm for about 3 days at a time before getting replaced & they upped the dose of the patch as we went along.

didnt take the pain away altogether but made it bearable & no swallowing needed which was a boost.

maybe worth speaking to the nurse about that?

Oh & my treatment was April 2018. I’m still here, all clear & doing well. 

So keep positive & keep fighting as this can be beaten.

All the best,