Living with cancer of the esophagus: Your feelings and actions


  • A few words about esophageal cancer
  • The diagnosis - cancer: what you feel
  • Tips to friends and relatives of the patient
  • Esophageal cancer: how to tell children
  • The fight against cancer from the inside: what can be done

  • A few words about esophageal cancer

    The esophagus is a long, muscularthe tube that connects your throat to the stomach. In adults, it has a length of at least 12 inches (30 cm) and carries swallowed food to the stomach by means of muscular contractions. In its upper part of the esophagus is (but separate from) the trachea (windpipe) that connects your mouth and nose with light, allowing you to breathe. Various lymph nodes (which filtered liquid, microbes and cancer cells) are located near the esophagus, in the neck, chest and heart near the junction of the esophagus to the stomach. Swelling may occur at any location along the length of your esophagus, doctors and esophagus divided into three parts, upper, middle and lower, in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

    Esophageal cancer is a relatively raredisease in Europe and North America. It is more common in men and usually occurs in older people, although now there is an expansion of the age range, and some types of cancer become more frequent. The reason is unknown but may be associated with malnutrition and long GERD acid (reverse flow of gastric contents toward the mouth). Cancer of the esophagus is more common in the Far East and Central Asia, which suggests that the disease may affect the nature of the power or the environment. Other conditions that adversely affect the esophagus, such as the lack of normal contractions of the esophagus (achalasia), and in very rare cases may lead to cancer.

    The diagnosis - cancer: what you feel

    Living with cancer of the esophagus: Your feelings and actionsMost people experience shock when theyreport that they have cancer. There is a lot of different emotions, which may cause feelings of confusion and frequent changes of mood. You can not experience all the senses, as discussed below, or experience them in a different sequence. This does not mean, however, that you are not fighting with the illness. These emotions are part of the process through which a lot of people trying to come to terms with their illness. Partners, family members and friends often have the same feelings and often need the same support and guidance when trying to cope with their feelings, just like you.

    Shock and disbelief - "I can not believe it", "II can not be sure. " This is often the first reaction, esophageal cancer is diagnosed. You may feel numbness, inability to believe what has happened, or to express any emotions. You may find that you are able to absorb only a small amount of information, and so you have to ask the same questions over and over again, or you need to make you repeat the same pieces of information. This need to be repeated is a common response to shock. Some people may find that their self-confidence makes them difficult to talk about the disease with family and friends. Other people feel the irresistible need to discuss it with others. This may be a way of helping his own to take this news.

    Fear and uncertainty - "I'm dying?"" I will be in pain, "Cancer - it is frightening word surrounded by fears and myths. One of the greatest fears expressed by people living with cancer - is: "I'm dying?" In fact, many cancers are now curable if they are detected early enough. If the cancer can not be cured completely, modern methods of treatment often means that the disease can be controlled for many years, and many patients can live an almost normal life.

    Many people feel that they need,to put in order their own affairs if they are diagnosed with cancer. Such an act can eliminate some of this uncertainty and to reassure patients that no matter what happens, take care of their family. One way to do this is to make a will.

    "Will I be in pain?"And" Will the unbearable pain? "- Other usual fears. In fact, many people who suffer from esophageal cancer, do not experience pain. For those who are in pain, there are many modern drugs and other techniques, which are very successfully relieve pain or keep it under control. Another way to relieve pain or prevent the emergence of you are feeling the pain radiation therapy and nerve blocks.

    Many people are afraid of the treatment: it will work or not, and how to deal with possible side effects. It is best to discuss in detail your individual treatment with your doctor. Make a list of questions you want to ask. If you do not understand something about your treatment - ask. You might want to take a close friend or relative to your appointment. If you feel frustrated, they will be able to remember those consultations details that you might forget. You may want them to ask those questions for which you hesitate to ask their doctor or not.

    Some people are afraid of the hospital itself. It can be an intimidating place, especially if you've never been in a hospital, but discuss your fears with your doctor; he or she will be able to reassure you.

    You may find that doctors can not detailanswer your questions, and their answers may sound vaguely. Often it is impossible to say definitely that the tumor is completely removed. Doctors are roughly based on the experience of recent years, many people have benefited from the specific type of treatment, but it is impossible to predict the future of a particular person. Many people find that this uncertainty is difficult to live - not knowing you are cured or not, it can be unsettling. Uncertainty of the future may cause severe stress, but fears are often worse than the reality. Gaining knowledge about their disease can be soothing. Talk about what you've learned with your family and friends can help you relieve the stress caused by unnecessary fears.

    Denial - "In fact, to me it did not happennothing wrong "," I do not have cancer. " Many people try to cope with their illness, not wanting to know anything about it or did not want to talk about it. If you feel it is, then just very firmly tell people around you that you would prefer not to talk about your illness, at least for the time being. However, sometimes there is another option. You may find that your family and friends deny the existence of your illness. They seem to ignore the fact that you have cancer, possibly underestimating your anxieties and symptoms or deliberately changing the subject. If this upsets or offends you, because you want them to support you, share your feelings, try to talk to them. Perhaps we should start with in order to reassure them that you know what happened, and that you will help if you can talk to them about their illness.

    Anger - "Why me of all people?"" Why now? "Anger can mask other feelings, such as anxiety or depression, and you can direct your anger on those closest to you, as well as doctors and nurses, who care for you. If you are religious, you may feel anger toward God. It is understandable that you may be deeply disappointed by many aspects of your illness, and you should not feel guilty about your angry thoughts or irritable mood. However, relatives and friends do not always understand that your anger is actually directed at your illness, rather than to them. If you are able to do so, it is useful to tell them this at a time when you do not feel very angry. If you find that you find it difficult to talk with your family, you can help to discuss the situation with a professional psychotherapist or psychologist.

    Responsibility and guilt - "If I had not ...This would never have happened. " Sometimes people blame themselves or other people in their illness, trying to find the reasons why this happened to them. This may be because we often feel better if we know why something happened, however, as even doctors rarely know exactly what caused esophageal cancer in a particular person, you have no reason to blame yourself.

    Resentment - "Are you all right, you do notWe have to tolerate it. " It is understandable that you may feel resentful and miserable because you have cancer, and in others all right. A similar feeling of resentment may arise from time to time in the course of your disease and its treatment for various reasons. Relatives can also be offended because of the changes that your illness has made in their lives.

    Living with cancer of the esophagus: Your feelings and actionsDo not hide your feelings. Typically useful to show these feelings to others, so that they can be expressed and discussed. Trying to hide the hurt can cause any human feelings of anger and guilt.

    Care in yourself and isolation - "Please leaveme alone. " During your illness may be times when you will want to be left alone to sort out their thoughts and emotions. It may be difficult for your family and friends who want to share with you during this difficult time. However, it will be easier to go through it, if you reassure them that, even though you do not feel like discussing his illness at the moment, you talk to them about it, when you're ready for it. Sometimes the reluctance to talk may be caused by depression. It may be helpful to discuss this with your doctor, who may prescribe a course of anti-depressant medications or refer you to a therapist who specializes in emotional problems of patients with cancer. For anyone in need of support in difficult times.

    Learn to control yourself. After any type of treatment for esophageal cancer may take a long time to deal with their emotions. You have to cope not only with the knowledge that you have cancer, but also with the physical effects of the treatment. Although the treatment of esophageal cancer can cause unpleasant side effects, many people manage to live an almost normal life during the course of the disease. It is clear that you will need time to treatment itself and for some time afterwards to recover. Do as much as you can, and try to get plenty of rest. Not a sign of their own inadequacy request for assistance or a feeling that you can not cope with problems on their own. Once other people will understand what you are feeling, they can be of great support.

    Tips to friends and relatives of the patient

    Some families find it difficult to talkCancer or share their feelings. It may seem that it is better to pretend that everything is fine, and behave as usual, perhaps because you do not want to worry person with cancer of the esophagus, or because you feel you are doing him or her worse if acknowledge that you scared . Unfortunately, the attempt to conceal strong emotions, like this, can further complicate a joint conversation and lead to the fact that a cancer patient will feel very isolated.

    Partners, family and friends can help,carefully listening to what they want and can tell a cancer patient. Do not get involved in a conversation about the disease. Often it is enough just to listen and to talk to the patient when he or she is ready for it.

    Esophageal cancer: how to tell children

    It's hard to decide what to tell their children about cancer. How much you tell them will depend on their age and how they are ripe for it. Very young children are only interested in upcoming events. They do not understand what the disease is, and they need simple explanations of why their family member or friend should go to the hospital, or as to whether he or she is itself normal. Older children can understand the explanation in the form of a fairy tale about the good cells and bad cells. All children need to repeatedly assure that your illness is not their fault, because they show it or not, children often feel that they may be guilty of something, and they may feel guilty for a long time. Most children under the age of 10 years and older can understand fairly complex explanations.

    Teenagers can be particularly difficult to cope with the situation because they feel that they are forced to return to the family as the time when they began to be released and gain independence.

    Open, honest approach is usuallythe best solution for all children. Listen to their fears and follow any changes in their behavior. This may be their way of expressing their feelings. Maybe it's better to start with small pieces of information messages and gradually build up a picture of the disease. Even very young children can feel that something is wrong, so do not keep them in the dark about what is happening. Their fears about what might happen can be far worse than reality.

    The fight against cancer from the inside: what can be done

    Living with cancer of the esophagus: Your feelings and actionsMany people feel helpless when theythe first report that they have cancer. They think that nothing can be done but to surrender into the hands of doctors and hospitals. This is not true. There are many things that you and your family can do at this time.

    Understanding your illness. If you and your family understand the nature of your illness and its treatment, you will be better prepared to cope with the situation. With this approach, you have, at least, there will be some ideas as to what you are experiencing. To the information was important, it should come from a trusted source that will prevent the occurrence of unnecessary fears for her. Individual medical information should come from your doctor who knows your medical history. As indicated above, it may be useful to visit a doctor to make a list of questions or take a friend or relative who will remind you of the things that you want to learn, but can so easily forget.

    Practical and positive task. At times you may not be able to do the things you used to take for granted. But as soon as you begin to feel better, you can set yourself some simple goals and gradually develop self-confidence. Make your business slowly and gradually.

    Many people talk about the "struggle with their illness." This can help some people, and you can do this by starting to engage their disease. A simple way to do this is to plan a healthy, well-balanced diet. Another way - to learn methods of relaxation that you can do at home with tapes. Some people believe that they have cancer taught them to properly allocate their time more constructively and to use its energy, than it was before the illness.

    You may find it useful to perform certainregular exercise. Type of exercise you choose, and the level of loading depends on what you're used and how well you feel. Set yourself realistic goals and achieve them slowly. If the idea is to change the nature of the food or do physical exercise you do not like, do not think you should do it; do only what is right for you. Some people may find pleasure in that, to keep your normal life as possible. Others prefer to take a vacation IPT spend more time on his hobbies.

    Most important to remember that there are people,that can help you and your family. It is often easier to talk to someone who is not directly related to your illness. You can find a useful conversation with a therapist who is specially trained to listen and provide support.

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