by Scholten A

Lifestyle changes can:

  • Strengthen the body for treatment
  • Help the immune system fight cancer better
  • Improve the person's mood
  • Prevent other health problems

Quit Smoking

When a person quits smoking, the body starts to repair itself. Quitting helps boost the immune system to help fight the cancer. It improves recovery from treatment. It will also reduce the risk of future cancers.

Nutritional Support

A good diet can affect health, energy, mood, and recovery. Cancer treatment may make it hard to eat. A registered dietitian (RD) can help with meal planning.

The cancer and treatments may cause problems swallowing. In this case, a feeding tube will be used. It will send nutrition right to the stomach.

Reduce The Risk of Infection

Cancer and its treatments lower the immune system. This can make it easy to get infections. It can also make infections more severe. The risk of infection can be lowered by:

  • Washing hands and using hand sanitizer often
  • Avoiding crowds, especially during cold and flu season
  • Not touching the eyes, mouth, and nose after touching objects and surfaces
  • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects often
  • Getting flu and pneumonia vaccines, if advised by the doctor

Exercise Regularly

The doctor may advise safe exercises. Exercise can help reduce the stress of cancer and its treatment. It can help boost energy, mood, and the immune system.

Manage Tiredness

Cancer and its treatment can make people tired. It helps to focus on the most important tasks. It is important to have others to help with chores, meals, and shopping. Good nutrition also helps boost energy.

If being tired affects quality of life, call the doctor.

Seek Support

Cancer is very stressful. It is important to have support from family, friends and others. Other sources of support may be:

  • Religious community
  • Support groups for people with the same cancer
  • Mental health professionals who work with cancer patients

Family and caregivers may need support too.

Comfort Measures

Esophageal cancer is often found at a late stage. This can make it harder to treat. Some people choose treatments to ease problems from the cancer. Others choose to stop treatment completely. For some people, it is time to begin end-of-life planning. This may include:

  • Choosing home or hospice care
  • Money decisions
  • Advance directives— orders for a person's care and money matters
  • Insurance coverage

Trained care team members can help with this process.


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Esophageal cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Accessed March 15, 2021.

Esophagus cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at Accessed March 15, 2021.

Nearing the end of life. American Cancer Society website. Available at: Accessed March 15, 2021.

Treatment option overview. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: Updated July 19, 2016. Accessed January 3, 2017.

Short MW, Burgers KG, et al. Esophageal Cancer. Am Fam Physician. 2017;95(1):22-28.

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