Esophageal Cancer Treatment at Cardiothoracic Surgery Associates
Cardiothoracic Surgery Associates (CSA) provides expert cardiothoracic care in the Denver community. Our cardiac and thoracic surgeons treat heart, lung, esophageal and chest wall conditions using advanced surgical techniques and the latest technology. CSA is committed to pursuing innovative and individualized treatment plans for each patient to ensure the best possible outcomes for their diagnosis and treatment of esophageal cancer.
Esophageal Cancer Types
There are two common types of esophageal cancer:
- Adenocarcinoma: This type of esophageal cancer is often found in the cells where the lower esophagus meets the stomach.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: This type of esophageal cancer is named for the cells in the upper and middle parts of the esophagus.
Causes and Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer
Esophageal cancer has some known risk factors, including:
- Barrett's esophagus
- Excess alcohol consumption
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Heavy smoking or use of chewing tobacco
The symptoms of esophageal cancer can include:
- Throat, chest or back pain
- Severe coughing
- Swallowing pain and/or difficulty
- Weight loss without trying
The treatment for esophageal cancer can be long and intense, and is best done under the care of an experienced team.
Esophageal Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
Imaging and endoscopic biopsies are most often used to diagnose esophageal cancer. CT and PET scans allow doctors to determine the extent to which the cancer may have spread beyond the esopahgus, including the surrounding lymph nodes. An upper endoscopy (EGD) is a procedure where a small camera is inserted into the esophagus to directly visualize and biopsy any mass that may be found. Ultrasound can also be used during this procedure and helps to determine how much the tumor is growing into the wall of the esophagus.
Esophageal cancer is most often detected at later stages. If it is found early, sometimes endoscopic therapies are possible and surgery may not be necessary. Most often stage Stage II and Stage III esophageal adenocarcinoma is treated with a multidisciplinary approach which includes of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. This method requires patients to be in otherwise good health and physical condition.
Patients diagnosed in stage IV, as well as non-surgical candidates in Stage III generally receive chemotherapy, and possibly radiation, depending on symptoms and overall health.
Each patient is different, and individualized treatment plans are offered for most patients that best match their specific needs.
Your Recovery Journey
Recovery from chemotherapy and radiation depends on how well the treatment was tolerated and the patients overall general health and other medical problems. However, if surgery is planned after chemotherapy and radiation, the operation will be scheduled 6-8 weeks after finishing chemotherapy and radiation to allow time for recovery. This time period allows the patient’s body to strengthen for surgery. Our physicians will go over more specifically what to expect if surgery is a part of your treatment plan.
The CSA surgical staff and cancer care team are focused on providing a comfortable, swift recovery and we’re dedicated to ensuring you or a loved one will receive the most effective treatment methods available.
For more information on esophageal cancer, contact us to schedule an appointment today at (303) 226-4650.