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Esophageal cancer

No esophageal cancer patient is the same. Get personalized treatment.

Esophageal cancer is a complex disease that develops when cancer forms in the esophagus, which is the hollow, muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach. This type of cancer is rare, accounting for only about 1 percent of all cancers diagnosed in the United States. But several factors increase the risk of developing this type of cancer, including alcohol and tobacco use, obesity and persistent acid reflux.

The most common symptom of esophageal cancer is trouble swallowing, or dysphagia, which occurs when the cancer grows and the opening to the esophagus gets smaller. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), we target esophageal tumors with advanced treatments and technology. And our supportive care clinicians are also available to help you manage the side effects of treatment, so you are better able to maintain your strength, stamina and quality of life throughout treatment.

What you should know after an esophageal cancer diagnosis

Treatment options

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Caught early, esophageal cancer may be treated with an endoscopic procedure. Advanced disease may require surgery to remove some or most of the esophagus. Other treatments, such as targeted therapy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, may also be recommended, either alone or in combination. Your multidisciplinary team of esophageal cancer experts will answer your questions and recommend treatment options based on your unique diagnosis and needs.

Immunotherapy drugs are designed to allow the immune system to better recognize and attack cancer cells.

Surgery may be recommended to treat stage I and stage II esophageal cancer, or it may be used in combination with other forms of treatment for later-stage diseases.

Our gastroenterology team treats disorders of the digestive system, playing an important role in diagnosing and treating esophageal cancer.

If chemotherapy is recommended for your specific type of cancer, your care team will create a chemotherapy regimen tailored to your needs.

Radiation therapy
Radiation therapy may be used in conjunction with surgery, depending on the stage of your disease.

Interventional radiology
Interventional radiology is designed to allow doctors to inspect tumors in the esophagus and perform real-time image-guided procedures.

Targeted therapy
Targeted therapy drugs may be recommended for certain patients when surgery is not an option and when a tumor shows specific genetic features.

Learn more about treatments for esophageal cancer

Supportive care

Treatments for esophageal cancer may cause a number of side effects that impact your ability to function normally, impairing your quality of life. Depending on the treatment and your individual experience, these may include pain, nausea, insomnia, malnutrition and/or neuropathy. We recognize that treating the cancer is only part of the battle. That’s why we also offer a range of supportive therapies to help you manage cancer-related side effects. For esophageal patients, these may include:


​Pain management

Pain management is a branch of medicine focused on reducing pain and improving quality of life through an integrative approach to care.


​Nutritional support

Every patient has the option of meeting with a registered dietitian.


​Oncology rehabilitation

​Oncology rehabilitation includes a wide range of therapies designed to help you build strength and endurance.

Charles Metzler

Charles M.

Esophageal Cancer

"CTCA is a wonderful place if you are dealing with cancer. They take care of your needs with an underlying concern and love. They give us hope, and show us the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a place that cares about you as a person, meeting the needs you have, and you start to care about the people there, as much as they care about you. A benefit of my cancer journey is being able to be part of a Cancer Fighters Team for CTCA."


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