Survivorship begins immediately after the diagnosis of esophageal cancer. The patients under treatment and whose disease conditions are cured after the treatment are referred to as the cancer survivors. Survival is considered one of the most challenging aspects of esophageal cancer, as every patient has unique conditions as per the disease’s severity. The survivors have experience emotions of concern, relief, remorse, and terror during their cancer journey. Esophageal cancer survivors and their caretakers can feel stressed once the frequent visits to the hospital and meetings with the health care team end. They will begin to experience a lack of security or support, as the relationship built with the health care team provides them with a sense of support, comfort and protection. Patients and their families may experience powerful emotions after the treatment, including excitement, concern, relief, guilt, and dread. Coping with such emotional distress has been known to be the primary goal of survivorship. Recognizing the difficulties that your family is experiencing, solution-oriented thinking, requesting and accepting help from others, and feeling at ease with the course of action that the family takes are some of the most common coping effective necessitates.
People with esophageal cancer can improve the quality of their future by following instructions for good health into and through adulthood, such as limiting alcohol, not smoking, managing stress, and eating well. The treatment survivorship serves as a solid motivation to initiate healthy changes in lifestyle and maintain good health and live a cancer-free life.
Survivorship for Esophageal Cancer
Survivorship can have different meanings for different people. But commonly, it refers to1;
- Having no signs of cancer post-treatment
- Cancer survivorship initiates from the moment of diagnosis and continues during treatment and throughout a person’s life.
Survivorship is the most complicated part of cancer as it is different for each person. Some people get cancer treatment for a long time to cure and prevent a recurrence, While some treat cancer as a chronic disease 2.
Survivors usually experience a mixture of strong feelings, joy, guilt, concern and fear. Some people start to appreciate life after cancer diagnosis and accept themselves, while others become uncertain about their health and vitality.
Support groups are present for people with oesophageal cancer. This provides you with an opportunity to talk with people who have had similar first-hand experiences.
Relationships formed with the cancer care team impart a sense of security during treatment, and people miss this source of support. This can be especially true when new worries and challenges surface over time, such as late treatment effects, emotional challenges including fear of recurrence, sexual health and fertility concerns, and financial and workplace issues. Every survivor has individual problems and challenges. An excellent first step is recognising your fears and talking about them with any challenge.
Effective coping requires the following:
- Thinking through solutions
- Understanding the challenge you are facing
- Feeling comfortable with the action you choose
- Asking for the support of others
People with oesophageal cancer can improve the quality of their future by following instructions for good health into and through adulthood, such as
- Limiting alcohol
- Not smoking
- Managing stress
- Eating well
Regular physical activity can help reconstruct your strength and energy level. The health care team can provide an appropriate exercise plan based upon your needs, physical abilities, and fitness level.
- 1.Bennett AE, O’Neill L, Connolly D, et al. Perspectives of Esophageal Cancer Survivors on Diagnosis, Treatment, and Recovery. Cancers. Published online December 31, 2020:100. doi:10.3390/cancers13010100
- 2.Agranovich A, McGahan CE, Gurjal A. Long-Term Survivorship of Esophageal Cancer Patients Treated with Radical Intent. Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology. Published online 2008:393-398. doi:10.1155/2008/231878