About Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer forms in tissues lining the esophagus—the muscular tube through which food passes from the back of the throat to the stomach.  Esophageal cancer occurs most often in men over 50 years of age. The main identifiable risk factors include smoking, alcohol consumption, obesity, acid reflux disease and patients with Barrett esophagus.

Symptoms can include difficulty swallowing, regurgitation, heartburn, unexplained weight loss, blood in vomit or chest pain unrelated to eating.  If you experience these symptoms, please talk to your physician who may refer you to a gastroenterologist.

Esophageal Cancer Screening & Diagnosis

In diagnosing esophageal cancer, there are several screenings that might be recommended.

  • A chest X-ray takes a picture of the organs and bones inside the chest.  
  • An upper GI series requires patients to drink a liquid containing barium, which coats the esophagus and stomach. An X-ray is then taken which highlights those specific areas.
  • An esophagoscopy uses an instrument with a light and lens that is inserted down the throat and into the esophagus to check for abnormalities.
  • A biopsy, in which cells or tissues are removed to test for cancer, may be done during the esophagoscopy.

Multispecialty Team

NorthShore University HealthSystem physicians and the team at the Kellogg Cancer Center work collaboratively and are dedicated to putting patients and families at the center of a healthcare experience that delivers compassionate, quality care.

Every week, our multidisciplinary team meets to discuss each patient’s case in detail and to design a personalized treatment plan. Your team may include your medical oncologistsurgeon, radiation oncologist, genetics counselor, pathologist, nutritionist, gastroenterologist, interventional radiologist, and researchers focused on you. This meeting of the minds provides each patient with an individualized care plan to create the path for the most successful outcome. Our approach emphasizes open communication, collaborating with each other personally and through one of the most advanced electronic medical records systems in the country.

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