Treatment for advanced cancer

Advanced oesophageal cancer is cancer that started in your oesophagus and has spread to another part of your body. Treatment aims to control the cancer and maintain a good quality of life.

Treatment decisions for advanced cancer

Your doctor might offer you a choice of treatments. They will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment with you. 

Radiotherapy for advanced cancer

Advanced stage means your oesophageal cancer has spread. External and internal radiotherapy (brachytherapy) can help to control your cancer and reduce symptoms.

Chemotherapy for advanced cancer

Chemotherapy uses anti cancer (cytotoxic) drugs to destroy cancer cells. You might have a combination of drugs for advanced oesophageal cancer.

Targeted drugs and immunotherapy for oesophageal cancer

There are different targeted and immunotherapy drugs for advanced oesophageal cancer. These include trastuzumab and nivolumab.

Making swallowing easier

Treatments include stretching your food pipe, stents or laser therapy. You might have these with radiotherapy or chemotherapy.


You might have a swollen tummy (ascites) if you have advanced cancer. There are treatments that might help to reduce the build-up of fluid.

Research into oesophageal cancer

Researchers are looking at the diagnosis, early detection and treatment of oesophageal cancer. 

Last reviewed: 
18 Oct 2019
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