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Suffering from esophageal cancer spread to spine. Swollen thigh, vomiting. Is chemotherapy an option?

Hi, my step father has recently been diagnosed with esophagus cancer which unfortunately has spread to the spine . His right thigh has swollen considerably, but no blood clot showed on ultrasound, MRI leg scan shows probably cancer too. he is now vomiting since yesterday tea time and unable to keep even water down. Dr s have sent him home with a drip of pain relief and anti sickness. he lives alone and I am worried how quickly this is spreading and taking over. He still hasn t started chemo , due to start on Monday, do you think it is worth him going through chemo at this stage?
Asked On : Mon, 17 Sep 2012
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General & Family Physician 's  Response
Esophageal cancer is one of the deadliest malignancies and historically carries a dismal prognosis.
Patients with metastatic disease are treated with palliative intent. Palliation is generally done to provide relief of dysphagia and esophageal obstruction. This can be achieved in several ways, including palliative  endoscopic dilation, endoscopic stenting along with palliative chemotherapy.
 Palliative chemotherapy has only a limited role in this setting and only a marginal impact on survival.
In current scenario he has to be managed first to stop his vomiting and restore his electrolyte imbalance.
Chemotherapy can be started only after settling of his general condition.
It does appear a futile exercise to go for chemotherapy at this stage but still we should not deny him the due treatment.
Answered: Tue, 18 Sep 2012
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