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.

Cancers that grow in your esophagus include:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma, forms in the upper or middle lining
  • Adenocarcinoma, which grows in cells that make liquid, like mucus, at the bottom

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.

Esophageal Cancer Treatment Options

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

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

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

Surgery With Less Pain

We try to do as much as possible get rid of your cancer. And we aim to do so with precise care and small cuts. These types of surgery kill cancer cells. They mean with less pain and shorter recovery times. These alternatives to open-chest operations include:

  • Laser therapy uses a narrow beam of intense light to kills cancer cells
  • Electrocoagulation uses an electric current to kill cancer cells
  • VATS uses tiny video cameras to guide surgeons


This most common operation takes out part of your esophagus.  

Standard Cancer Therapies

Your doctor may recommend these treatments along with surgery:

  • Radiation 
  • Chemotherapy
  • Chemoradiation


Our Approach to Esophagus Care

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.