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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Esophageal Cancer

There has been an alarming increase in the incidence of esophageal cancer in the United States. This has affected all segments of the population, but has most specifically affected white males 50-70 years of age. A multidisciplinary approach to the diagnosis and treatment of esophageal cancer is crucial for proper staging and therapy. The Cleveland Clinic’s team approach employs members of the department of Gastroenterology, Thoracic Surgery, Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, and Anatomic Pathology.

When a patient is newly diagnosed with esophageal cancer, determining precisely the stage, or extent of the tumor is crucial. Patients with esophageal cancer that is limited to the wall of the esophagus are frequently best treated with a surgical approach. Those patients with cancer that has spread through the wall are often best treated with a combination of chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, followed by surgery. This stage directed therapy has resulted in significant improvements in patient survival.

Proper staging of esophageal cancer utilizes multiple techniques, including CT scanning, PET scanning, and endoscopic ultrasound.

Patents with esophageal cancer may frequently have difficulty swallowing because of tumor obstruction of their esophagus. Relief of the swallowing difficulties may be accomplished with laser therapy, argon plasma coagulation, photodynamic therapy or the placement of an expandable metal stent. These treatments are all offered as a part of our multidisciplinary approach.

Via: http://cms.clevelandclinic.org

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