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Cancer of the Esophagus (cont.)

What is the treatment for esophageal cancer?

Treatment for esophageal cancer depends on the results of tests and your underlying health.

  • People with advanced heart or lung disease may not be candidates for aggressive therapy.
  • In many cases, the esophageal cancer has advanced too far for any available treatment to work.
    • In these cases, the doctor considers the following procedures:
      • Placing a metal or plastic tube (stent) in the esophagus to allow passage of food and liquids
      • Radiation therapy
      • Photodynamic therapy (tissues are sensitized chemically then treated with a focused light source internally)
      • Widening (cautious dialation) of the esophagus or laser destruction of the esophageal tumor
    • In otherwise healthy people with localized disease, surgery may offer the best chance at long-term survival.
      • Surgery involves removing the diseased portion of the esophagus and connecting the remaining portion to the stomach.
      • Preoperative chemotherapy and radiation often accompany surgery.
      • Studies now under way will determine whether combination chemotherapy and radiation therapy without surgery is as effective as surgery in lengthening long-term survival. Present results give conflicting opinions. Research continues.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/3/2016
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Esophageal Cancer »

Esophageal carcinoma was well described at the beginning of the 19th century, and the first successful resection was performed in 1913 by Frank Torek.

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