Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cells of the lining of the esophagus growing out of control. The esophagus is the hollow, muscular tube that connects your throat to your stomach. Cancer Care of North Florida will take careful steps stage and grade the tumor to assess the best way to create and manage your treatment plan. Our goal is to achieve the very best outcome while preserving your quality of life.

There are 2 main types of esophageal cancer:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Adenocarcinoma

Other types of cancer can start in the esophagus but are much more rare:

  • Lymphomas
  • Melanomas
  • Sarcomas

What are the risk factors for Esophageal Cancer?

It may be possible to avoid some risk factors for esophageal cancer, but some are out of your control. The best plan is to catch it early. Lifestyle and hereditary factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol use
  • Barrett’s esophagus
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Human papillomavirus infection (HPV)
  • Previous radiation to the chest/lungs
  • Personal history of esophageal cancer
  • Highly processed food intake
  • Achalasia
  • Genetic syndromes (Tylosis, Plummer-Vinson syndrome)
  • Esophageal injury
  • Family history of esophageal cancer
  • Gender/Age/Race/Where you live

Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer Include:

  • Hoarseness or voice changes
  • A sore throat that does not go away
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble breathing/talking
  • Weight loss
  • Bleeding in the esophagus
  • Blood in stool
  • Low red blood cell count

Many of these symptoms are more likely to be caused by conditions other than esophageal cancer but seeking care early can help find cancer earlier and improve outcomes. In most cases, esophageal cancers are found because of symptoms they cause. Unfortunately, most esophageal cancers do not cause symptoms until they have reached an advanced stage.

Esophageal Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

At Cancer Care of North Florida, once cancer has been diagnosed, our specialists may order diagnostic testing and imaging to help determine the stage and extent of the disease. It is very important to do a comprehensive esophageal cancer work-up to carefully evaluate the extent of the cancer.

  • Medical history and physical exam
  • Barium swallow
  • Biopsy and molecular assessment
  • Blood tests
  • Upper endoscopy
  • Bronchoscopy/Thoracoscopy/Laparoscopy
  • Chest x-ray
  • MRI scan
  • CT scan
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound
  • PET imaging

Depending on the type and stage (severity) of the esophageal cancer, the following treatments may be necessary. At Cancer Care of North Florida, we use the most advanced therapies available to treat esophageal cancer. An individualized plan of care may include multiple types of treatments.

Surgical options may include:

Esphagectomy (removal of some or most of the esophagus and some surrounding healthy tissue)
Lymph node removal

Other forms of non-surgical interventions for esophageal cancer include:

Radiation – Any remaining cancer cells left after surgery are destroyed with high-energy radiation beams. For some esophageal cancer, treating with chemotherapy at the same time can make radiation therapy work better. It is possible to receive radiation therapy before, during or after surgical intervention. Also, when surgery is not possible, radiation can be used to help slow the growth of the tumor. We work closely with Cancer Care of North Florida Radiation Oncology located on campus.
Chemotherapy – Chemotherapy (chemo) are anti-cancer drugs that may be given intravenously (injected into your vein) or by mouth. The drugs travel through the bloodstream to reach cancer cells in most parts of the body. Chemotherapy can sometimes be given before, during or after surgery. At Cancer Care of North Florida, our team provide extensive education and supportive care through your therapy.
Targeted Treatments – Targeted drugs work differently from chemo drugs. They sometimes work when chemo drugs don’t, and they often have different side effects. They can be used either along with chemotherapy or by themselves if chemotherapy is no longer working. Targeted treatment options are determined by further genetic testing of the tumor cells. This type of testing is usually done on the biopsied tissue of the tumor cells.
Immunotherapy – Immunotherapy is the use of medicines to help a person’s own immune system better recognize and destroy cancer cells. Immunotherapy can be used to treat some people with advanced esophageal cancer.

Why Choose Us?

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, it is crucial to work with a team of cancer experts who not only have extensive experience, but also a strong track record for achieving the best possible outcome for their patients. While this type of cancer is treatable, the dedicated team Cancer Care of North Florida will initially stage and treat this form of cancer and monitor and treat cancer recurrence or complications that may occur later.

At Cancer Care of North Florida, our physicians are highly specialized in treating multiple types of cancer with the most advanced techniques. Using a team approach, we strive for excellence. We work with each patient to specifically tailor their treatment to their own clinical situation. One of the common diseases that we treat is esophageal cancer.

  • Highly trained, collaborative oncology specialists all currently taking new patients
  • Consultation appointments scheduled within 3-5 days of referral and in some cases same-day appointments available
  • One-stop campus for comprehensive diagnositics and treatment for many types of cancer including radiation, chemotherapy infusion, lab draws and imaging services
  • Onsite infusion center offers comfortable, home-like setting
  • In-office lab testing
  • In-office medication dispensary
  • Open, immediate access to outpatient symptom management
  • 24-hour physician coverage
  • COPI-certified clinical trials
  • We accept most insurance plans including Medicare, Medicaid, and VA