Diseases & Conditions
Boston Medical Center specializes in the treatment of esophageal cancer, tumors that arise from malignant (abnormal) cells in the neck and chest area. Our Center for Thoracic Oncology provides comprehensive, expert care for patients with cancer of the esophagus and other related diseases. Our mission, like that of BMC, is to provide every patient with exceptional care, without exception. We are here to help minimize your pain, treat you in the most effective way possible and help you start on the path to recovery. Our team of dedicated oncologists, surgeons and nurses are among the best in the country and our treatment approach, facilities and technology are state-of-the-art.
What is Esophageal Cancer?
Esophageal cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the esophagus, which is a flexible tube connecting the throat to the stomach. Generally between 10 and 13 inches long, the esophagus contracts when you swallow to push food down into the stomach. Mucus helps move the process along.
Ninety percent of esophageal cancers are one of two types: squamous cell or adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell refers to cancers that originate in the cells that line the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma begins in the part of the esophagus that joins the stomach.
Some people do not notice any symptoms of esophageal cancer until late in the disease. However, symptoms may include:
There are a number of ways that physicians may detect esophageal cancer, after doing a medical history and physical examination:
If you are diagnosed with esophageal cancer, you have options. Your physician will work with you and your family to discuss your unique situation and all possible treatments. Factors that will be taken into consideration in determining your best treatment plan are the size and location of the tumor, the involvement of surrounding tissue, whether it has spread to other body parts and your overall health.