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I am 20 years out from surgery for Stage II adenocarcinoma at the GE junction - Surgery was in April, 2001; 54 at the time and now 75.
Very few studies have been made of long term survivors, but you can Goggle “Long-term quality of life after Ivor Lewis esophagectomy for esophageal cancer” for one such study.
In my case, I had the usual problems eating and reflux. I also have a partially paralyzed diaphragm, a partially collapsed lung caused by diaphragmatic eventration as my small intestine tries to follow the stomach into the chest cavity and presses against the diaphragm. The end result is exercise intolerance caused by shortness of breath. This is not helped by early stage COPD from years of smoking. Eating remains problematic. Any time I get sick I lose a few pounds and it gets harder and harder to gain them back.
BUT! Despite these problems, overall quality of life is good. The days of 3 course meals are long gone, but I can still enjoy a good steak or plate of pan seared scallops with a vegetable side and a vodka martini and glass of wine. The wife and I still travel with a couple of weeks in Ireland last year, taking a couple of grand daughters to Niagara and Stratford, Ontario this year for some live theater, and planning a couple weeks in Italy next year. We can see a time in the future when the breathing problems will become too severe, but that's not for a few years yet, so we will travel as much as we can until that time. For all we've been through... we have no complaints.
From the study I cited:
CONCLUSIONS: In the long term, Ivor Lewis esophagectomy provides a generally good QOL for patients with esophageal cancer, which is comparable to a healthy reference population. However, some patients suffer from significant symptoms. Reflux and eating problems were the most relevant complaints. Dietary counseling is therefore important in the postoperative course.