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Esophgeal Surgery


What is the esophagus?

The esophagus is the “swallowing tube”. It is a muscular tube that extends from the mouth to the stomach. It may be affected by a variety of benign and malignant diseases that may require surgery.

What malignancies affect the esophagus?

The majority of the esophagus is lined with squamous cells that can degenerate into squamous cell carcinoma. Lower in the chest as the esophagus enters the stomach the cells are known as columnar cells. A malignancy in this area will be an adenocarcinoma.

What are the risk factors for esophageal cancer?

The major risk factors are excessive smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and changes caused by a pre-malignant process called Barrett’s esophagus. Esophageal cancer is more common in men than women and in Afro-Americans than Caucasians.

What are the symptoms of esophageal cancer?

The most common symptoms are difficulty swallowing and weight loss. The difficulty swallowing may cause the patient to change his diet and avoid large chunks of food and favor liquids. Other symptoms include pain with swallowing, regurgitation of undigested food, and bleeding.

What tests are appropriate for diagnosis?

Initial tests might include chest x-ray, esophageal x-ray with barium, and CT scan of the chest and abdomen. The diagnosis is usually established with endoscopy of the esophagus and biopsy of suspicious areas.

How is esophageal cancer treated?

The treatment for esophageal cancer is dependent on the stage of the disease. A tumor that is small may be treated by resection with surgery. These patients frequently receive adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy according to protocols. Tumors that are proven to have spread to lymph nodes or other organs are treated with combined chemo and radiation therapy without surgery.

What is the prognosis for esophageal cancer?

If a tumor is diagnosed at an early stage and successfully resected the cure rate is excellent. However due to frequent spread of the cancer by the time of diagnosis the overall results in large groups of patients is disappointing.

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CVT Surgical Center
7777 Hennessy Ave. Suite 1008 · Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808
800-375-0416 - Toll Free | 225-766-0416 - Front Desk
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