Esophageal cancer is an abnormal growth of tissue that occurs in the esophagus, the tube that runs from the throat down to the stomach. The esophagus moves swallowed food to the stomach for digestion.
Esophageal cancer can form anywhere along the esophagus and typically begins in the cells that line it.
The types of esophageal cancer are categorized based on the cells involved, and they include:
Symptoms often do not present early on in the disease. However, in later stages, they can include:
If there is a suspicion of esophageal cancer, a physician may recommend tests, including:
Treatments for esophageal cancer depend on overall health, the stage of the cancer, and the cells involved. Options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Surgery to remove the cancerous growth may be performed alone or with other treatments. Surgical possibilities include:
Typically, chemotherapy is a drug treatment designed to kill cancer cells before surgery (neoadjuvant) or after surgery (adjuvant). It may also be combined with radiation therapy or used alone to alleviate symptoms in advanced stages of the disease.
Radiation therapy harnesses the power of X-ray radiation beams to destroy cancer cells. The radiation is usually delivered using a machine on the outside of the body targeted at the cancerous area (external beam radiation), but it can also be placed directly into the body close to the tumor (brachytherapy). As previously mentioned, it can be used by itself or in combination with other treatments to rid the disease or relieve symptoms of advanced stages.
At Digestive Healthcare Center, our physicians are skilled and experienced in recognizing the symptoms of esophageal cancer and determining the best next steps for diagnosis and treatment. We see patients at our three office locations in Somerset County, as well as via virtual telemedicine visits, where you can speak to a gastroenterologist from the comfort of your home. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and to learn more about the procedures we offer.
Whether you come to see us in person or speak to a physician via a telemedicine virtual visit, our team will ensure that all of your questions are answered and that you fully understand all decisions made for your health. We want to help you live a healthier and more comfortable life free from digestive discomfort.