patient undergoing exam

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, you can depend upon expertise gained from both experience and research. If you need options, we 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

Esophageal Cancer Treatment at UVA

    Side view cutaway of the esophagus showing an area of esophageal cancer.
    Esophageal Cancer. Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    We do as much as possible 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. 

    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.