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Esophageal Cancer Resources
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Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal Cancer

The esophagus is the tube that moves food and liquids from your throat to your stomach. Cancer may develop in this structure, and if the tumor is large enough it can affect your ability to swallow food.

What are the symptoms of esophageal cancer?
Early on, the disease usually shows none. Later symptoms include difficulty swallowing, unintended weight loss, severe indigestion or heartburn, coughing and hoarseness.

How is esophageal cancer diagnosed?
An endoscopy involves your doctor inserting a thin, flexible tube (an endoscope) into your esophagus to look for cancer or unusual tissue changes. A biopsy may be taken so the tissue can be examined for cancer. Extra imaging may be done to determine if the cancer has spread.

What are the treatments for esophageal cancer?
Surgery can be performed using the endoscope if the tumor is very small. A more extensive surgery involves removing a portion of the esophagus, nearby lymph nodes and possibly part of your stomach. Chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of the two may be done. Targeted drug therapy may also be given.

What are the risk factors for esophageal cancer?
Obesity, drinking alcohol and smoking are among the lifestyle risk factors. Having gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a lack of fruits and vegetables in the diet and a history of radiation treatments to the chest or upper abdomen are among the other risk factors.

What are some additional resources for learning about esophageal cancer?
If you or your loved one is facing esophageal cancer, CalvertHealth has a whole range of services designed to help you so you never take this journey alone. Please talk to your CalvertHealth provider or your Nurse Navigator, or check the service pages for information about treatments, services and support groups.

You may also find more information on esophageal cancer from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.