Chemoradiotherapy treatment

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can be given at the same time. This is called chemoradiotherapy or chemoradiation. Certain chemotherapy drugs make the cancer more sensitive to radiotherapy. These include fluorouracil (5FU), cisplatin, and docetaxel.

Chemoradiotherapy is used for squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma, the two main types of oesophageal cancer.

Chemoradiotherapy can be used instead of surgery. You may also have it before an operation to shrink the tumour. You may be given chemoradiotherapy as part of a clinical trial.

Giving chemotherapy and radiotherapy together can make the side effects of treatment worse. It also may not be suitable for everyone, for example people who have other health problems. Your doctor or specialist nurse will give you more information about chemoradiotherapy and its possible side effects.

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Decisions about treatment

Your doctors may tell you there are different options for your treatment. Having the right information will help you make the right decision for you.


Surgery involves removing all or part of the cancer with an operation. It is an important treatment for many cancers.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to treat many different types of cancer. It is most commonly given as an injection into a vein or as tablets or capsules.


Radiotherapy is the use of high-energy rays, usually x-rays and similar rays (such as electrons) to treat cancer.

Clinical trials

Many people are offered a trial as part of treatment. Find out more to help you decide if a trial is right for you.

Life after cancer treatment

You might be thinking about how to get back to normal following treatment. Find advice, information and support about coping with and after cancer.