Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer is an abnormal growth of tissue inside the lining of the esophagus that spreads outward through other layers of the esophagus as it grows.

Symptoms

Symptoms of esophageal cancer include:

  • Painful or difficult swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • Pain behind the breastbone
  • Hoarseness and cough
  • Indigestion and heartburn

Diagnosis

In addition to all major cancer screening and diagnosis methods, we also offer these techniques when testing for esophageal cancer:

  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scan) – A procedure to find malignant tumor cells in the body
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound (EU) – This imaging procedure is used to determine how deeply the cancer has invaded the walls of the esophagus and whether it has spread to nearby lymph nodes
  • Barium Swallow/Upper GI Series – A procedure in which the patient drinks a liquid that contains barium; this liquid coats the esophagus and stomach, allowing images to be made of the area
  • Esophagoscopy – A procedure that looks inside the esophagus to check for abnormal areas

Treatment

Surgery is the most common treatment for esophageal cancer. Radiation and chemotherapy are also common treatment options, as are:

  • Targeted Therapy – Treatments that use drugs or other agents to recognize and attack specific cancer cells
  • Laser Therapy – A technique that helps to open up the esophagus when an advanced cancer blocks it
  • Electrocoagulation – This treatment uses an electric current to kill cancer cells

Your care team will work with you to determine your exact course of treatment. Learn more about treatment options.