Esophageal Cancer

The esophagus is basically a long, hollow tube running from your throat to your stomach. It carries the food you swallow to your stomach to be digested. Esophageal cancer can occur anywhere in the cells that line the inside of the esophagus, but for most people in the United States, it occurs more often in the lower portion of the esophagus. In addition, more men than women develop esophageal cancer.

Symptoms include:

  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Chest pain, pressure or burning
  • Worsening indigestion or heartburn
  • Hoarseness
  • Weight Loss

Multimodal Treatment Options:

Surgery alone may be used to remove early stage esophageal cancer or if the cancer is more locally advanced Alaska Surgical Oncology will likely recommend preoperative chemotherapy and radiation therapy followed by consideration of surgical resection. This combination seeks to enhance the overall survival of esophageal cancer.

Surgical Approach:

The general surgical approach to removing esophageal cancer is the esophagogastrectomy. An esophagogastrectomy removes part of your esophagus, nearby lymph nodes and the upper part of your stomach. The remainder of your stomach is then pulled up and reattached to your esophagus. If necessary, part of your colon is used to help join the two.

Alternative albeit similar surgical approaches to the above described esophagogastrectomy used to remove esophageal cancer are:

  • Transthoracic Esophagogastrectomy
  • Transhiatal Esophagogastrectomy
  • Minimally Invasive Esphagogastrectomy
  • Ivor-Lewis Esophagogastrectomy

The Healthquest Guidebook

As a community service, we have produced a free guidebook on how to detect and prevent common cancers, and when you need to have screenings with your family physician.

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