Esophageal cancer (also called esophagus cancer) is one of the many types of cancer we treat. It makes up only about 1% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States. These cancers are rare and complex. That’s why it’s important to turn to an experienced team for treatment.
Northside Hospital Cancer Institute understands the power of teamwork in the fight against esophageal cancer. We bring together a team of specialists to support your physical and emotional needs — from diagnosis through treatment and survivorship — and on to wellness.
You’ll have access to a multidisciplinary team with expertise in esophagus cancer and thoracic surgery, gastroenterology, radiation therapy and medical oncology. Your care team also includes pathologists, radiologists and certified genetic counselors with expertise in esophageal cancer.
Other benefits of our care team include access to:
Esophageal cancer treatment can be overwhelming. But our cancer nurse navigators are there to guide you through you cancer care pathway. They can help you to coordinate your care and understand your treatment plan, and they can also connect you with with the Northside Hospital Cancer Institute support and survivorship resources.
Your esophagus is a tube that connects your throat to your stomach. It’s how the food and liquids you swallow get to your stomach.
The wall of your esophagus has several layers. That’s important to know because most esophageal cancers begin in the inside layers and then grows outward.
It’s hard to catch esophagus cancer because people usually don’t have any symptoms right away. Symptoms of esophageal cancer may include:
Men are at higher risk of esophageal cancer than women. Some other factors that increase your risk of developing esophageal cancer include:
After doing a physical exam, your doctor may order a blood test to check for esophageal cancer. The blood test can show how many red blood cells you have and how well your liver is working. Abnormal results could indicate a problem.
Imaging: Doctors may also perform one or more diagnostic imaging procedures. These procedures involve getting a picture of the inside of your body using X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) or positron emission tomography (PET) scans.
Endoscopy: Your doctor may also want you to have an endoscopy. In this procedure, a doctor looks down your throat and into your esophagus using a tiny video camera and light mounted on the end of a very small tube.
Biopsy: If doctors suspect cancer, they usually will perform a biopsy. That’s when they take out a little piece of tissue to check it for cancer cells. This is one of the best ways to see if you have cancer.
Esophageal cancer treatment at Northside may involve surgery to remove the cancer, especially if it’s caught in its earlier stages.
Radiation therapy also may be used, either alone or in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays or particles to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy uses medicine to treat cancer.
Depending on the exact type of esophageal cancer, its stage and other factors, some other options might include targeted drug therapy or immunotherapy.
Northside Hospital Cancer Institute continually stays on the leading edge of cancer research, too. Our Research Program represents one of the largest community-based oncology/hematology programs in the nation. People who take part in cancer clinical trials have an opportunity to contribute to scientists’ knowledge about cancer and to help in the development of better cancer treatments. They also receive innovative opportunities for care from our cancer experts.
No matter what treatment options you choose, our experts will tailor an esophageal cancer treatment plan that is in line with your individual needs.