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Esophageal Cancer

At NorthShore, we treat patients with esophageal cancer with a well-coordinated multidisciplinary approach. No two cancer patients are exactly alike and neither is their care. As key members of the Kellogg Cancer Center team, our dedicated general thoracic specialists have extensive experience achieving optimal surgical outcomes for the treatment of esophageal cancer.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Patients with early esophageal cancer often don’t experience many, if any, signs of the disease, but it is sometimes detected on routine endoscopy. As the cancer progresses, however, symptoms may include:

  • difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • unexplained weight loss
  • chest pain, pressure or burning
  • worsening indigestion or heartburn

Early detection remains the best strategy for diagnosing esophageal cancer at its most treatable stages. The signs and symptoms of esophageal cancer are non-specific but do require prompt evaluation by a qualified specialist such as your primary care physician or gastroenterologist.

Surgical Treatment Options for Esophageal Cancer

Most early stage esophageal cancers can be successfully treated with advanced endoscopic techniques that leave the esophagus intact. Advanced and more severe forms of the disease, though, may require the complete removal of the esophagus.

NorthShore’s thoracic surgeons have vast experience in performing minimally invasive esophageal resection employing advanced video assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) techniques. Called an esophagectomy or esophageal resection, this procedure involves cutting out the diseased esophagus and a small portion of the stomach. The surgeon then fashions a section of the stomach into a tube, which then functions as a replacement esophagus. Most patients typically undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments in addition to surgery—care that is all seamlessly coordinated through the Kellogg Cancer Center’s multidisciplinary team approach.

For More Information

To schedule an appointment with one of our thoracic surgeons, please call 847.570.2868.