Esophageal Cancer- PET Scans are key to Accurate Staging

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PET has been shown to be the most effective staging modality for the evaluation of distant metastatic disease for patients with esophageal cancer

 A cancer diagnosis is nothing without proper staging. Or I should say that a cancer diagnosis is less than nothing without accurate staging. I say this because early stage EC is a completely different prognosis than EC stage 3 or 4. Like many cancers, EC has a pre-cancer diagnosis called Barrett’s esophagus. While EC at any stage is rarely curable, localized EC has a much better average survival rate than advanced EC.
While PET scans (positron emission tomography) can be an effective diagnostic tool in helping cancer patients determine a therapy plan, according to the study linked and excerpted below, PET scans or accurate staging in esophageal cancer changes little about the oncologist’s therapy plan.
What…What? Yes, the study linked and excerpted below explains that while PET imaging helps oncology get a clearer picture of a patients E.C., the clearer picture did not change the oncologist therapy plan very often (less than 5% of the time).
While that finding might be confusing to the average newly diagnosed cancer patient it makes perfect sense to me. My experience as a cancer survivor and cancer coach is that oncologists do what their hospital is good at, not what may be best for the patient.
As the saying goes “treat the patient, not the disease.” The key is for the newly diagnosed EC patient to learn what his/her treatment options are. While your oncologist is an important person on your team, you, the patient, are in charge.
 I am both a cancer survivor and cancer coach. Have you been diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer? What stage? For more information about both conventional and non-conventional therapies for esophageal cancer scroll down the page, post a question or comment and I will reply to you ASAP.
Thank you,
David Emerson
  • Cancer Survivor
  • Cancer Coach
  • Director PeopleBeatingCancer
“The use of positron emission tomography (PET) has significantly improved the staging of patients with cancer, with the greatest benefit being the avoidance of surgical resection or definitive radiotherapy in patients with the otherwise unrecognized metastatic disease.1,2 For patients with solid tumors (such as lung cancer), its use in diagnosis of the primary and staging of lymph nodes is relatively inaccurate and should not be relied upon.3
PET has been shown to be the most effective staging modality for the evaluation of distant metastatic disease for patients with esophageal cancer,4,5 yet apparently not as effective as for patients with lung cancer.
 Although not discussed in the review, this study actually failed to meet its goal; PET did not improve the staging of esophageal cancer, as it changed the management in only 4.4% of patients, less than the target of 5%.

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