Skip Navigation

Symptom Management, Support Programs, and Follow-up Care

  • Symptom management

    Nutritional guidance and speech therapy

    Many of our patients work with nutrition counselors from the very beginning of their treatment to help with eating difficulties, diet modification, and creating a customized eating plan. Our  nutritionists are registered dietitians, skilled at handling your nutrition needs. They help you manage common side effects of this disease, such as loss of appetite and weight loss, and answer your questions about the latest findings on cancer nutrition.

    Because of the nature and treatment of this disease, some people develop difficulty swallowing, and our speech pathologists (experts in evaluating and treating patients who have difficulty swallowing or protecting their airway) can help provide treatment strategies for this problem.

    Managing fatigue and depression

    It's not uncommon to find yourself more tired or experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety while going through cancer treatment. Sometimes this is the result of cancer treatment or coping with new physical changes. Our  Adult Psychosocial Oncology Program can help you and your loved ones maintain the best quality of life during and after treatment.

    Pain management and care

    Our center offers  pain management and palliative care to our patients. Palliative care is often misunderstood. Many associate it with end-of-life care or “giving up” — especially with a serious health diagnosis like cancer. However, palliative care is best explained as an extra layer of support that helps reduce the symptoms, pain, or stress often associated with illnesses. Early on, it can help make medical treatments more tolerable. At later stages, it can reduce suffering, help you carry on with daily life, assist you in planning for future medical care, and provide support for living with a life-threatening illness.

    Complementary and integrative therapies

    Many of our patients with esophageal or stomach cancer benefit from consulting with experts at the  Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies. Services provided range from acupuncture and massage to Reiki and music therapy. Our patients treated at the Zakim Center credit its services with easing nausea, improving circulation, and reducing pain, stress, and anxiety associated with cancer treatment.

    Exercise classes and consults

    Our team encourages you to remain active during your treatment. Studies show exercise can help both during and after cancer treatment, strengthening the body, improving mood, and reducing fatigue. Our  exercise physiologist can design a safe, effective program tailored to your particular situation and needs.

  • Managing Esophageal and Stomach Cancer Symptoms
    Dr. Peter Enzinger, Director of the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center, describes how the Center helps patients with esophageal and stomach cancer manage disease and treatment-related side effects.

  • Support programs and follow-up care

    We understand that an esophageal or stomach cancer diagnosis can be challenging both physically and emotionally. When you become a patient at the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer, our medical, nursing, and support teams make sure you and your loved ones have access to our extensive array of support programs and services before, during, and after your treatment. You have full access to the many resources available at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC).

    Because we are a specialized center, many of our patients appreciate the chance to connect with other people with esophageal cancer. We also hold educational sessions for patients to learn about the disease and how to care for themselves.

    Below are some of our selected programs and services for patients with esophageal or stomach cancer.

    • You may wish to join a specialized support group for patients with gastrointestinal cancer.
    • Our licensed social workers are here to help you and your loved ones face the many new concerns following a cancer diagnosis. We offer emotional support and assistance, and we help you find the best care professionals. Find out more about these and other services provided by our Adult Social Work Program.
    • Our Ethics Consultation Service is available for patients and families who may be facing difficult decisions and choices regarding care. Our goal is to bring together patients, families, and health care providers to talk about ethical concerns and help everyone involved arrive at a resolution that is right for all.
    • Friends' Place provides personal consultations to help cancer patients of all ages cope with changes in physical appearance that result from cancer treatment.
    • Your family or caregiver may want to use our resources for caregivers to find practical tips and suggestions, including creating a caregiving plan, finding community resources, and looking after their own well-being. They may also want to take advantage of Patient and Family Resource Centers, which are staffed by health care professionals and provide computer stations, books, brochures, videos, and CDs to help you find information about cancer treatment and care.

    Survivorship care and follow-up testing

    We believe that all patients in the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer should receive expert post-treatment care, just as they do when they receive our outstanding cancer care — in a comprehensive, personalized way. We create a personalized care plan for each patient, with clear steps for monitoring and maintaining your health after your treatment ends.

    We follow our patients very closely, and you'll likely come back for follow-up appointments every three months. These decrease in frequency as time goes on. Some of our patients participate in the Adult Survivorship Program, a member of the LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence Network. This program is committed to finding solutions for living well after cancer and providing compassionate, quality medical care after treatment.

    Find additional information, resources, and support for living well beyond cancer.