Esophageal Cancer Treatment

Esophageal Cancer Treatment

Esophageal cancer treatment options are important as it is estimated that there will be approximately 16,000 new cases of esophageal cancer, a cancer that affects the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach, diagnosed this year. This type of cancer typically starts in the inner lining of the esophagus and grows outward toward the muscle layer.

There are two main types of cancer of the esophagus:

Adenocarcinoma, the most common form of esophageal cancer in the US and usually found in the lower part of the esophagus near the stomach; and, squamous cell carcinoma, which is found in the upper section of the esophagus and is the most common form of esophageal cancer outside of the U.S.

Esophageal cancer treatment options are similar for both types and may include one or more of the following:

Surgery for Esophageal Cancer Treatment
In most cases, an esophagectomy is performed, which is surgery that removes part of or all of the esophagus, depending on where the tumor is located. Typically, lymph nodes surrounding the esophagus and part of the stomach also are removed to try to stop the progression of cancer to other areas of the body. Once the esophagus is removed, a surgeon may reattach the top portion directly to the stomach or replace the area that was removed with a portion of the small or large intestine to try to aid in helping eating and digesting as normal as possible.
Radiation Therapy Esophageal Cancer Treatment
External radiation is most often used to treat esophageal cancer. It may be used before or after surgery, as well as in combination with chemotherapy following surgery. In advanced esophageal cancer, radiation therapy is used to help control pain and other uncomfortable symptoms.
Chemotherapy Esophageal Cancer Treatment
Typically, chemotherapy is used in combination with radiation therapy before surgery to try to shrink the tumor, or after surgery to ensure that all cancerous cells have been destroyed. It also can be used alone in people who cannot undergo surgery or radiation therapy.
Clinical Trials Esophageal Cancer Treatment
Since this type of cancer is hard to treat with current treatment options, patients may want to consider enrolling in a clinical trial that is evaluating the newest, cutting-edge esophageal cancer treatment options.

 

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