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Keeping well

Get Well Soon

Helping you make a speedy recovery after surgery to remove a cancer of the gullet or upper stomach

Keeping Well

Because of your operation, the chances are you’ll be a lot more aware of your body and how it works. 

Right now is a really good time to build on the knowledge you’ve gained and make small changes to your lifestyle that can prevent you from experiencing certain health problems in the future. You can do this by:

  • Any exercise – the best medical advice suggests that you should try to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day in the early stages of your recovery, even if it’s just a few short walks – it really will make a difference.
  • Improving your diet – After oesophagectomy many patients adjust their eating pattern to ‘little and often’. Patients should try to eat a healthy balanced diet but may find with experience that some foods suit them better than others. A healthy diet contains a variety of foods, including fresh fruit and vegetables, starchy foods (such as rice, pasta, and potatoes) and some protein-rich foods (such as meat, fish, eggs, lentils, and beans). Your diet should also be low in fat (especially saturated), salt, and sugar.
  • Quitting smoking - NHS Stop Smoking Services are one of the most effective ways to stop for good – and they’re completely free. Your doctor will be happy to help you.


For many people, having an oesophagectomy marks an important turning point in their life. Having a holiday to look forward to is a good way of improving your recovery. There are no restrictions to holidaying in the UK, but it’s advisable not to plan any long journeys until you are feeling comfortable enough to sit for long periods and are able to eat solid food.

after an oesophagectomy, it is recommended that you don’t fly until 6–8 weeks after your operation, assuming satisfactory progress.

Travel insurance: getting travel insurance following surgery can sometimes be difficult, so it’s best to shop around for a good deal. Macmillan lists a number of insurance companies that are prepared to offer insurance.

Travelling within the European Union is probably easier than elsewhere in the world, mainly because you can access any emergency treatment that you need – provided that you have a European Health Insurance Card (E111). However, it’s important to remember that this does not cover you for the cost of being flown home under medical supervision after emergency treatment, which is an expense that you will have to cover yourself. Also, the emergency cover provided is only to a level given to the people resident in that country.

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