Esophageal Cancer

What is Esophageal Cancer?

This is a condition in which cancer affects the lining of the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the mouth to the stomach. Cancer develops in either the upper or lower portions of the esophagus, and often occurs as a result of frequent disturbance to the esophagus by acid reflux.


Early esophageal cancer may not cause symptoms. As the cancer grows, the most common symptoms are:

  • Food gets stuck in the esophagus, and food may come back up
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Pain in the chest or back
  • Weight loss
  • Heartburn
  • A hoarse voice or cough that doesn’t go away within 2 weeks


Usually, cancer begins in the inner layer of the esophagus. The doctor uses an endoscope to remove tissue from the esophagus. A pathologist checks the tissue under a microscope for cancer cells. A biopsy is the only sure way to know if cancer cells are present.


People with esophageal cancer have several treatment options. The options are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these treatments. For example, radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be given before or after surgery.


InFusion Center

Infusion therapy is performed when a patient does not respond well to other treatment methods.

Endoscopy Center

Iowa Endoscopy Center is a free standing Ambulatory Surgery Center dedicated to gastro-intestinal endoscopy.

Therapeutics Center

Advanced therapeutics begin when standard endoscopic procedures no longer serve the patient.

IBD Center

A multi disciplinary center of excellence for adults and children with Crohn's Disease and ulcerative colitis.