How Is Esophageal Cancer Treated?
As with many cancers, esophageal cancer treatment has a greater chance of success if the cancer is caught early. Unfortunately, by the time esophageal cancer is diagnosed for many people, it is often already in an advanced state (has spread throughout the esophagus and beyond).
Treatment of esophageal cancer depends on many factors, including the stage of the cancer and the overall health of the patient.
- Surgery. Part or all of the esophagus may be removed.
- Radiation therapy. Kills cancer cells with radiation.
- Chemotherapy. Powerful drugs that target cancer cells throughout the body. Typically used in combination with radiation therapy and/or surgery.
Endoscopic treatments that may be done to treat precancers or very small, early cancers include endoscopic mucosal resection to remove the inner lining of the esophagus, laser ablation to kill cancer cells directly, photodynamic therapy that can target cancer cells with a special laser light, and electrocoagulation, which uses electric current to destroy cancer cells.
In addition, your doctor may recommend that you take part in a clinical trial, in which new drugs or treatments are tested in patients. The success of these tests helps determine if the drugs or treatments will be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
WebMD Medical Reference