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Esophageal cancer results from the uncontrolled growth of cells in the esophagus. This type of cancer begins in the layer of tissue that lines the inside of the esophagus. As cancer progresses, it grows into deeper layers of the esophagus and sometimes spreads to other areas of the body. There are two main types of esophageal cancer:
Esophageal cancer occurs most often in men and people 55 and older. Other risk factors include:
Most cases of esophageal cancer do not cause symptoms in the early stages. By the time symptoms appear, the disease may already be fairly advanced. Symptoms may include:
If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible.
At Norton Thoracic Institute, you will receive a thorough evaluation from our team of esophageal experts. A medical history and physical exam will help us understand your risk factors, symptoms, and physical signs of disease. You may also undergo one or more tests:
Your doctor will use your test results to determine the stage of cancer and to develop a treatment plan.
Your personalized treatment plan will depend on the type and stage of the esophageal cancer—how deeply it has grown into the walls of the esophagus and whether it has spread to the lymph nodes or other organs. The stages of esophageal cancer range from Stage 0 (only in the first layer of the esophagus) to Stage 4 (cancer in the esophagus, lymph nodes and other organs). Surgery alone can sometimes be used to cure esophageal cancer in its early stages; however, more advanced cases usually require a combination of treatments:
You can reduce your risk of developing cancer of the esophagus by following these guidelines:
To learn more about our services, call 602.406.4000.