Q. Can esophageal cancer be treated through surgery alone?

Answered by
Dr. Arvind Guru
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 27, 2017 and last reviewed on: Sep 29, 2021

Hello doctor,

My mother is suffering from cancer of the esophagus. I have attached her reports, and she does not want to go through radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Can it be treated through surgery only? Please help.



Welcome to

I have reviewed your provided images (attachment removed to protect patient identity). Thanks for uploading all of them.

  • It is very easy for a doctor to say the patient denied chemotherapy and radiotherapy and took responsibility for the same. Hence, the outcome of the treatment will not be as good as possible.
  • In your mother's case, esophageal carcinoma is a deadly disease. In recent times, the best evidence worldwide has shown a definite role of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in squamous cell carcinoma (your mom's type of cancer). So, your doctor is right in recommending the same.
  • In the past, straightway surgery was done in many cases, and it was then followed by radiotherapy. However, the new approach is better. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy followed by surgery.
  • The recommended treatment of a disease is as per the available best evidence of outcome seen internationally. And irrespective of a patient's or doctor's wishes, the recommended treatment of a disease does not change.The chances are that you, as the patient will keep on looking for 'the doctor' who says things according to your liking and then the treatment administered may actually not be the best possible.

For more information consult a general surgeon online -->

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