Ask the Cancer Coach-“Stage 4 esophageal cancer diagnosis and treatment”

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The important thing is that he has lowered his esophageal cancer tumor burden. By doing this your brother is giving his body the ability to strengthen his immune system…

Cancer Coach- My brother has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer at stage 4 when confirmed.  He was sent to palliative care.  He could not bear to lay down and die.  He has convinced them to try treatment even though they said it would not work.  He did radiation treatment to help his swallowing and and then did chemo. 

After his first round his tumors both in his liver and esophogus had shrunk by 75%.  He has put weight on and can eat anything.   He doesn’t get really ill from chemo just tired and a little nauseous.  Is it possible it can be cured?

Hi Kim-
I agree with your brother in not agreeing that therapy would not “work.” I was a stage 4 myeloma patient in ’96 and also refused to “lay down.” Also, it is great to read that your brother has put on weight and is eating regularly. Your brother’s ability to tolerate toxic chemotherapy bodes well for his cancer management.

Whether your brother can be cured or not can’t be determined with any certainty. The term cured when used by cancer docs simply means that a cancer patient lives for five years from the time of original diagnosis. My guess is that you and your brother care more about living a long and healthy life from here out. While it has been almost 20 years since my own cancer diagnosis I don’t think about being “cured.” I work at the therapies that I have outlined for you below.

The important thing is that he has lowered his tumor burden. By doing this your brother is giving his body the ability to strengthen his immune system, get physically stronger and fight or manage his cancer. Let me outline several therapies to further fight or manage esophageal cancer and then ask you a few specifics about your brother so I can research your situation further (if that’s okay with you).

EC nutrition- whether your brother regularly eats blackberries, strawberries, garlic, more fruits and veggies in general, or the vitamin/minerals studied below, nutrition will play an important role in your brother fighting/managing his EC-

Black Raspberries Slow Cancer by Altering Hundreds of Genes

EC nutritional supplementation- curcumin, omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil) have both shown the ability to kill EC cancer.  While melatonin fights GERD, there are no specific research that I can find demonstrating its ability to fight EC specifically.

Curcumin induces cell death in esophageal cancer cells through modulating Notch signaling.

Fish oil-supplemented parenteral nutrition in patients following esophageal cancer surgery: effect on inflammation and immune function.

The Potential Therapeutic Effect of Melatonin in Gastro-esophageal Reflux Disease

Moderate daily exercise, eating well, the supplementation linked above, all have been shown to help manage EC.

How old is your brother? Does he have any other health challenges? What therapies have been recommended beyond his past chemo and radiation?

I have linked lots of reading for you but knowledge is power, especially in cancer care. Let me know what questions you have.

thanks and hang in there.

David Emerson-

  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer

Recommended Reading:

The Most BioAvailable Curcumin Formulas

“Based on a review of these studies, it is evident that better bioavailability of formulated curcumin (CU) products is mostly attributed to improved solubility, stability, and possibly low first-pass metabolism”

A search of the Pubmed database for the word curcumin yields 601 studies spaning health topics from multiple myeloma and colorectal cancer, to chemotherapies that synergizes with CU, to Alzheimer’s Disease, arthritis and more. Based on years of reading studies and personal accounts, I think it is safe to say that CU supplementation is safe and relatively inexpensive.

I have read about myeloma patients taking daily doses of CU from 400 milligrams to 8 grams (1000 milligrams = 1 gram). By almost any measure, CU is a safe, inexpensive wonder drug.

The only challenge is that CU is famously difficult to absorb in the body. In other words, a person has to mix curcumin with some sort of fat (coconut oil, chocolate, etc.) or take a brand of curcumin capsule that is already formulated to be more “bioavailable” in order to derive the full benefit of CU.

The study linked and exerpted below reviews different formulations of CU. The study itself lists the three most bioavailable formulation/brand of CU and I’ve added an excerpt from a further review from Consumerlab.com that lists four additional bioavailable brands of CU.

Recommended Reading:


CU is a bright yellow chemical produced by some plants. It is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric (Curcuma longa), a member of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is sold as an herbal supplement, cosmetics ingredient, food flavoring, and food coloring.[1]

Bioavailable curcumin formulations: A review of pharmacokinetic studies in healthy volunteers.

“Curcumin is a widely studied natural compound which has shown tremendous in vitro therapeutic potential. Despite that, the clinical efficacy of the native CU is weak due to its low bioavailability and high metabolism in the gastrointestinal tract. During the last decade, researchers have come up with different formulations with a focus on improving the bioavailability of curcumin. As a result, a significant number of bioavailable curcumin-based formulations were introduced with the varying range of enhanced bioavailability.

The purpose of this review is to collate the published clinical studies of CU products with improved bioavailability over conventional (unformulated) CU. Based on the literature search, 11 curcumin formulations with available human bioavailability and pharmacokinetics data were included in this review. Further, the data on clinical study design, analytical method, pharmacokinetic parameters and other relevant details of each formulation were extracted.

Based on a review of these studies, it is evident that better bioavailability of formulated curcumin products is mostly attributed to improved solubility, stability, and possibly low first-pass metabolism. The review hopes to provide a quick reference guide for anyone looking information on these bioavailable curcumin formulations.

Based on the published reports,

exhibited over 100-fold higher bioavailability relative to reference unformulated CU. Suggested mechanisms accounting for improved bioavailability of the formulations and details on the bioanalysis methods are also discussed.”

According to Consumerlab.com:

“Novasol has the highest bioavailability (185 x compared to unforumulated CU), followed by Curcuwin (136 x), Longvida (100 x), Meriva (48 x), BCM-95 (27 x), Curcumin C3 Complex + Bioperene (20 x), and then Theracumin (16 x).”

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