Esophageal Cancer Symptoms Treated by Experienced Doctors at Mercy

Digestive Health and Liver Disease at Mercy - Esophageal Cancer

Dr. Patrick Hyatt and Dr. Scott Huber, at The Center for Heartburn and Reflux Disease at Mercy, diagnose and treat esophagus disorders, including esophageal cancer. Our doctors understand that a cancer diagnosis can be frightening, so they work with each patient to provide individualized treatment options for esophageal cancer.

About the Condition

Esophageal cancer is caused by the abnormal growth of cells that form a tumor in the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach. Chronic acid reflux, heavy alcohol and tobacco use, diet low in fruits and vegetables, obesity, and rare medical conditions, such as Barrett’s esophagus, can damage the cells causing them to grow abnormally anywhere in the esophagus. Patients diagnosed with any esophagus disease are monitored to alleviate abnormal growths before they can become cancerous. 

NEXT: Symptoms & Diagnostic Process ›
Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Esophageal cancer symptoms often are not present until late in the cancer process. Trouble swallowing and a sensation of food being caught in the throat or chest are common esophageal cancer symptoms. Other esophageal cancer symptoms can include heartburn, indigestion, chest pain, or weight loss.

Barrett’s esophagus is a precancerous condition of the esophagus and increases the risk of cancer. Patients with Barrett’s esophagus should be monitored closely for the development of esophageal cancer.

An esophageal cancer diagnosis can be made by performing:

  • Endoscopy – a tube with a camera is inserted into the esophagus to examine the esophagus lining as well as take tissue samples for a biopsy
  • Chromoendoscopy – use of nontoxic dyes during an endoscopy
  • Barium swallow test – after drinking a thick liquid that coats the esophagus lining to make it easier to see, X-rays are taken to examine the esophagus  
NEXT: Treatment Options ›
Treatment Options

Esophageal cancer is treated using surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of the treatment options. The cancer stage and the patient’s overall health helps determine the extent of surgery needed. Surgery for esophageal cancer can involve the removal of:

  • The tumor
  • A part of the esophagus
  • A part of the esophagus and a part of the stomach