What Homer wrote of the Lotus Eaters, he might as well have written of patients with carcinoma of the esophagus—"and the men waste day by day with slow disease and withering undelight."
Sweet, Garlock, MacManus,18,6,7,12 and others have developed operations which, when applicable, have achieved gratifying results in this most ungratifying of diseases. Unfortunately, about one half of the patients with carcinoma of the esophagus have inoperable cancers when first seen by the surgeons. And of those explored, only about one half will have resectable lesions. Thus, for 75 out of 100 patients with this disease, we are faced with the grim reality that the best we can offer is palliation.
Gastrostomy, x-ray therapy, various bypass operations, and tube prostheses inserted through the carcinoma all are methods of palliation employed in the case of the inoperable or unresectable esophageal carcinoma. Since obstruction is the prime difficulty that must be
O'CONNOR T, WATSON R, LEPLEY D, WEISEL W. Esophageal Prosthesis for Palliative IntubationFurther Evaluation of 378 Patients. Arch Surg. 1963;87(2):275-279. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1963.01310140083015