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Esophageal Cancer

Cancer is a disease that results from abnormal growth and division of cells. Esophageal cancer refers to cancer that originates in the tissue of the esophagus. Esophageal cancer is a relatively rare form of cancer; it represents about 1% of all new cancer diagnoses in the US. The two most common kinds of esophageal cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Unfortunately, esophageal cancer is usually diagnosed once it has reached an advanced stage, making it more difficult to cure.

Risk Factors for esophageal cancer include having a long standing history of acid reflux with Barrett esophagus, older age, a history of heavy alcohol use, and smoking.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
  • Odynophagia (painful swallowing)
  • Weight loss
  • Hoarse voice
  • Cough
  • Indigestion or heartburn


Once there is a concern that a patient may have an esophageal cancer, there are multiple interventions we offer to either diagnose, stage, and/or resect the cancer.

Diagnostic Interventions

  • Upper Endoscopy (EGD) with or without biopsy

    This is a procedure where the surgeon uses an endoscope to visualize the structures of the upper GI tract. When the area of concern is seen, a biopsy may be taken and sent for pathology.

  • Esophageal endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)

    An esophageal endoscopic ultrasound is a procedure where the surgeon enters the esophagus with an endoscope to view and/or biopsy esophageal masses, certain lung masses, and abnormal lymph nodes.

Surgical Intervention

  • Esophagogastrectomy

    This complex surgery requires removing a portion of the stomach and partial or complete removal of the esophagus with complex reconstruction. Traditionally, this surgery is performed via open laparotomy for the “abdominal part” of the surgery and thoracotomy for the “chest portion” of the surgery. Our service offers minimally invasive esophagogastrectomy (MIE) where both portions of the surgery are performed with key-hole incisions with improved surgical outcomes.