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Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer grows in the lining of the esophagus. This tube moves food and liquid from your throat to stomach. Cancer in this part of your body can cause acid reflux and pain while you eat. It can also cause a lot of worry about what to do next.

At UVA Health, you can depend upon expertise gained from both experience and research. If you need options, we can help. As Virginia's first NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, you can trust that we know the latest about esophageal cancer treatment. You'll find clinical trials and advanced technologies that give you every advantage.

    Esophageal Cancer Treatment at UVA Health

      We do as much as possible to get rid of your cancer. We use surgery as the primary remedy. It removes cancer cells by taking out part of your esophagus.  

      We can do this surgery using VATS. With tiny video cameras, surgeons only have to make small cuts to perform the procedure.

      High-Tech Treatments

      We also have alternatives to surgery, like:

      • Laser therapy uses a narrow beam of intense light to kill cancer cells
      • Electrocoagulation uses an electric current to kill cancer cells

      Standard Cancer Therapies

      Your doctor may recommend these treatments along with surgery:

      We'll need to check on your health and measure the size of your tumor. The best treatment depends on the stage of your cancer. 

      A Second Opinion Can Help

      Doctors often send patients to us for second opinions. They trust that we:

      • Have extensive knowledge of this disease
      • Offer the latest types of surgery  
      • Use therapies that don't need surgery, if possible

      Our Approach to Esophageal Cancer

      Less-Invasive Surgery

      We use the safest surgeries we can. We were among the first to perform chest surgery with tiny cameras, video-assisted thoracic surgery (VATS). 

      Top Surgeons

      We do more than 150 surgeries on the esophagus every year. This experience improves patient outcomes. We treat more patients every year.

      Your Team of Experts

      Our whole team focuses on your care. Experts in surgery, radiology, cancer, and the GI tract will create the most customized treatment possible. 

      Do You Have Cancer in Your Esophagus?

      Your chances for recovery improve if we find the cancer early. Watch for:

      • Swallowing problems
      • Weight loss
      • Chest pain
      • Hoarseness and cough
      • Reflux and/or heartburn

      These symptoms don't mean you have cancer. We'll need to do X-rays, look down your throat, and do a biopsy to make a diagnosis.

      Ronald Preston at a doctor visit for esophageal cancer

      Ronald's Esophageal Cancer Story

      UVA Health cancer experts teamed up with doctors closer to Ronald's Bedford, Virginia home. This meant he didn't need to miss work for his chemo and radiation treatment for stage 3 esophageal cancer. Watch Ronald tell his story.

      Ronald's esophageal cancer story

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