Esophageal Cancer
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Diseases and Conditions

Esophageal Cancer

Although esophageal cancer is rare, approximately 16,500 individuals are diagnosed with it each year, making early detection critical to treating the disease. At the Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care, our esophageal cancer team of physicians and thoracic surgeons is comprised of subspecialists who are highly experienced in treating esophageal cancer.

Montefiore's team treats all types and stages of esophageal cancer, from early-stage Barrett's esophagus to advanced stage 4 cancer. The two most common forms of esophageal cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, which occurs in the lining of the esophagus, and adenocarcinoma, which occurs in the glandular tissue, typically in the lower part of the esophagus near the stomach.

A Comprehensive Multidisciplinary Approach

Montefiore's multidisciplinary team of physicians and surgeons provides a customized treatment plan for each patient. Our distinguished team is composed of thoracic surgeons, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiation therapists, gastroenterologists and radiologists.

Our physicians are experienced in working with those at high risk for esophageal cancer, such as patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Barrett's disease and low-grade dysplasia or abnormal tissue development, which is three times more prevalent in men than in women. The symptoms of esophageal cancer, such as difficulty swallowing and pain in the throat or behind the breastbone, may not be evident to patients with these disorders during the early stages, often resulting in diagnosis of esophageal cancer at an advanced stage. Montefiore recognizes this challenge and uses state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, treatment therapies and advanced minimally-invasive surgical solutions to treat esophageal cancer.

Diagnosis and Advanced Treatments

Montefiore's experienced oncologists and radiologists work together to diagnose the type of esophageal cancer and to determine the best treatment plan for the patient, using the most advanced diagnostic technology. Although no standard or routine screening test is available for esophageal cancer detection, several diagnostic studies can detect cancerous cells and tumors within the esophagus and nearby lymph nodes, including:

  • Advanced endoscopic techniques
  • Barium swallow with X-ray
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)
  • Laparoscopy
  • Positron emission tomography(PET)/computed tomography(CAT)

The test results help physicians determine if cancer is present, the stage of the cancer and whether the disease has spread.

If esophageal cancer is confirmed, treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of approaches. We customize treatment for each patient, taking into consideration medical history, the stage and depth of the tumor and how many lymph nodes are present.

Our extensive experience with minimally-invasive procedures, includes:

  • All types of esophageal resections
  • Endoluminal approaches for gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Barrett's disease
  • Robotic resections
  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic laparoscopic surgery (VATS)

Patients are offered opportunities to participate in clinical trials when applicable and our team places great emphasis on patient education. We discuss each treatment option in detail with patients and are happy to answer all of their questions.

Please visit the American Cancer Society, for more information on Esophageal Cancer.