Esophageal cancer is a complicated disease, and treating it requires a comprehensive approach from a team that has been recognized for exemplary coordination of care.
Esophageal cancer is a complicated disease and treating it requires the expertise of providers from many specialties and an all-inclusive plan that focuses on caring for the whole patient. The multidisciplinary team at Middlesex Health includes medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, thoracic surgeons, pathologists, and gastroenterologists.
This team thoroughly reviews each case and provides a personalized treatment plan for each patient. Once a treatment plan is finalized, all services can be delivered within the Middlesex Health network, which allows for improved communication and collaboration.
Esophageal cancer occurs when cells in the esophagus develop changes (mutations) in their DNA. The changes make cells grow and divide out of control. The accumulating abnormal cells form a tumor in the esophagus that can grow to invade nearby structures and spread to other parts of the body.
Symptoms of esophageal cancer may include:
- Sifficulty swallowing
- Weight loss
- Chest pain, pressure or burning
- Worsening indigestion or heartburn
If you are having any of these symptoms, it is important to speak to your physician.
Early detection of cancer can be key to successful treatment, so it is important to understand what increases your risk of esophageal cancer. Risk factors can include:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Precancerous changes in the cells of the esophagus (Barrett's esophagus)
- Having obesity
- Drinking alcohol
- Having bile reflux
- Esophageal sphincter that won't relax (achalasia)
- Drinking steady, large amounts of very hot liquids
- Having a lack of fruits and vegetables in diet
- Having radiation treatment to the chest or upper abdomen
There are several different types of tests for endometrial cancer.
- Endoscopy: A flexible tube with a video lens is passed down your throat and into your esophagus, in order to look for cancer or areas of irritation.
- Biopsy: A small amount of tissue is removed from the esophagus. The doctor will then examine the tissue to check for abnormal and cancerous cells.
- Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS): This test uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the lining and walls of your digestive tract, chest, pancreas, liver, and lymph nodes.
- CT Scan: The combination of a series of x-rays to create detailed images.
- PET Scan: A scan of the entire body to determine if cancer has spread elsewhere in your body. PET scans can sometimes detect disease before it shows up on other imaging tests.
The evidence-based treatment plan your doctor chooses is based on a number of factors: type of cancer, grade and stage of the cancer, your overall health, and your treatment preferences.
Surgery can be used to treat esophageal cancer alone or with other therapies, like chemotherapy and radiation. If your tumors are small, it may be possible for the surgeon to remove them and the surrounding tissue using an endoscope.
Additional surgical options include:
- Esophagectomy: Removal of the portion of the esophagus that contains the tumor, as well as the upper part of your stomach and nearby lymph nodes. The remaining esophagus is then reconnected to your stomach.
- Esophagogastrectomy: Removal of part of your esophagus, nearby lymph nodes, and a larger part of your stomach. The remainder of your stomach is then pulled up and reattached to your esophagus.
Chemotherapy for gynecologic cancers involves the use of medications to shrink or kill cancerous cells. These medications may be taken intravenously (IV) or as pills.
The board-certified medical oncologists, nurses, and technicians at Connecticut Oncology Group provide the most effective, advanced care with warm, personal attention and support for patients and their families. Your medical oncology team will work closely with your other providers and help provide access to clinical trials.
Radiation oncology is the highly-controlled use of radiation to cure or treat symptoms of your cancer.
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