Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy
Chemotherapy works by preventing cancer cells from replicating.
The drugs which are commonly used in oesophageal and gastric cancer are:
- Fluorouracil (5FU)
- Capecitabine (oral form of 5FU)
In oesophageal and gastric cancer, chemotherapy is often given before surgery (neoadjuvant treatment).
The aim of giving chemotherapy before surgery is to reduce the size of the tumour and to eliminate any cancer cells which may have escaped from the main tumor site.
Depending on the results from the surgery and patient recovery, further chemotherapy is often given after the surgery as well (adjuvant chemotherapy).
Radiotherapy can be used in addition to chemotherapy before surgery to enhance local effect. It is also used with chemotherapy as a definitive treatment when surgery is not appropriate.
Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to destroy cancer cells. Treatment courses depend on the location, type, size of the cancer and the intention of the treatment.