Chemoradiotherapy treatment

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

Chemoradiotherapy is mainly used for squamous cell carcinoma, but can be used for adenocarcinoma too.

Chemoradiotherapy can be used instead of surgery. It can also be used 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 may also 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 the possible side effects.

Back to Treating

Making treatment decisions

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.

Treating swallowing problems

Cancer may block the oesophagus and cause swallowing problems. Different types of treatment are available to help.

Advanced oesophageal cancer

Advanced cancer means it has spread from the oesophagus. Although treatment won’t be able to cure the cancer, it can help improve symptoms.

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.