Digestive Diseases - Gastroenterology

Cancer of the Esophagus

Esophageal cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the lining of the esophagus.  The esophagus is a hollow, muscular tube that allows food to pass from the throat to the stomach.  There are two main types of esophageal cancer: adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. 

Screening for Esophageal Cancer

One risk factor for developing cancer of the esophagus is the disorder known as Barrett’s esophagus. If you have symptoms that are causing discomfort or you have a high risk for this cancer, your doctor will recommend that you have an upper endoscopy to screen for precancerous or cancerous tissue. This allows us to sample tissue in your esophagus to see if there are any changes or for a closer examination and possible diagnosis. We also use advanced imaging techniques to screen the esophagus: narrow band imaging or chromoendoscopy. 

Signs and Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer

If you have any of the signs or symptoms of persistent discomfort in your esophagus, have them checked by doctor. Early screening is always best. Come to us if you experience problems with swallowing or feel that food may be stuck in your throat or chest or other kinds of pain or discomfort in the chest area. If you have unintentional weight loss, coughing, anemia, or bleeding, let us find the cause. Your symptoms may be the result of a noncancerous (benign) condition or esophageal cancer. In either case, an accurate diagnosis is essential to your getting the right care.

Diagnosing Esophageal Cancer 

To make a diagnosis, we may perform a computed tomography (CT) scan to see if your symptoms are the first sign of an esophageal cancer. We will follow an abnormal CT scan finding with endoscopy and tissue sampling to make an accurate diagnosis. 

Treatments We Offer

At Mount Sinai, we take a multidisciplinary approach to esophageal cancer treatment. Your gastroenterologist works together with surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, social workers, and nutritionists to come up with a treatment plan designed just for you. We are highly qualified at treating you with the most advanced endoscopic techniques, such as fiducial or stent placement. Your Mount Sinai team specializes in providing every aspect of your care for the best possible outcome.