Esophageal Cancer Treatment in Utah
The esophagus is a foot-long, hollow muscular tube that connects the back of your throat to your stomach. When you swallow, the esophagus carries food and liquids to your stomach for digestion.
Esophageal Cancer Symptoms:
Signs of esophageal cancer are often not apparent in its early stages. If you have symptoms, they may include:
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia). As an esophageal tumor grows, it may start to block the passage of food. This is often the first symptom of esophageal cancer to appear.
- Painful swallowing (odynophagia)
- Indigestion and heartburn over long periods of time
- Pain, pressure or burning in the throat or chest
- Unintended weight loss
- Reduced appetite
- Black tar-like stools
- Anemia, or low levels of red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. This can lead to patients feeling run-down and weak.
- Regurgitation of food from the esophagus
- Persistent hiccups
- Chronic cough
These symptoms do not always mean you have esophageal cancer. However, it is important to discuss any symptoms with your doctor, since they may signal other health problems.
Esophageal Cancer Treatment Options:
If you are diagnosed with esophageal cancer, your doctor will discuss the best options to treat it. This depends on several factors, including the type and stage of the cancer and your general health. Your treatment for esophageal cancer will be customized to your particular needs. One or more of the following therapies may be recommended to treat the cancer or help relieve symptoms.
- Surgery is the most common treatment for esophageal cancer.
- Chemotherapy works by killing fast-growing cells, including cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy uses focused, high-energy photon beams to destroy cancer cells.
- Immunotherapy recruits the patient’s own immune system in the fight against cancer.
- Targeted therapy works by stopping or slowing the growth or spread of cancer.
- Esophageal stents Small, expandable metal tubes are placed inside the esophagus with the aid of an endoscope. Once placed, the stent can expand and open up the blocked part of the esophagus, allowing food and liquids to pass through more easily.