Esophageal Cancer

The esophagus is a long tube that connects your throat to your stomach. It makes sure the food you eat reaches your stomach for digestion. When cancer cells grow in the walls of the esophagus, it’s called esophageal cancer.

The earlier doctors find esophageal cancer, the easier the disease is to treat. At MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, our specialists use the latest screening programs, evaluation techniques, and treatments. We also offer resources such as financial counseling and nutrition guidance, to support you during your care.

Why Choose MD Anderson at Cooper for Esophageal Cancer Care?

Our partnership with the nation’s top cancer hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center, means you benefit from our:

  • Leading cancer care expertise: We offer the same promising esophageal cancer treatments available on MD Anderson’s Houston campus. Our gastroenterologists perform a minimally invasive procedures that diagnoses esophageal cancer as early as possible, when treatments are most effective.
  • Experience: Our doctors treat a large number of gastrointestinal cancers. Because esophageal cancer can be more aggressive, this experience means our specialists know which treatments are most effective. You can be confident our doctors are skilled in performing any surgery you might need during cancer treatment.
  • Team approach to treatment: Our team of cancer specialists meet weekly to discuss the best treatment options and prepare a care plan that is best for you. This collaborative approach is important because esophageal cancer tends to be diagnosed in later stages. Having a team of experts coordinate your care can improve the success of your treatment.
  • Access to clinical trials: Due to our participation in clinical cancer research, you may have access to leading clinical trials as part of your treatment options.
  • Enhanced recovery protocols: If you need surgery for esophageal cancer, our special recovery protocols can help you feel better, sooner. They result in fewer hours of fasting before surgery as well as better pain management and less time in bed afterward.
  • Dedicated nurse navigators: Our nurse navigators have extensive experience caring for patients with gastrointestinal cancers. They help you schedule appointments and manage all aspects of your care.
  • Full range of support services: We offer nutritional counseling, behavioral medicine, and other resources to ease the effects of cancer treatment. Learn more about our cancer care support services.

Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer may not cause any symptoms, especially during its early stages. However, as the cancer grows, some people may notice one or more of these:

  • Trouble swallowing, also called dysphagia
  • Chest tightness or burning
  • Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Chronic cough
  • Voice changes, such as hoarseness

Many routine health conditions can also cause these symptoms. Because stomach acid can damage your esophagus, you should talk to your doctor if your GERD symptoms get worse over time. In some cases, chronic GERD can lead to a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, which could increase your risk for developing esophageal cancer.

Esophageal Cancer Treatment

Surgery can be an effective treatment for esophagus cancer. Your treatment team may recommend one or more treatments, based on a number of factors, including:

  • Where the cancer is in your esophagus
  • The type of cancer cells doctors find
  • Whether (and how far) the cancer has spread
  • Your overall health and preferences

At MD Anderson at Cooper, our cancer experts have a wide array of options they will consider before deciding which treatments are best for you, and in which order. For certain esophageal cancers, undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy before surgery can improve treatment success.

Contact Us

To learn more about esophageal cancer services available at MD Anderson at Cooper or to schedule an appointment, please call 855.MDA.COOPER (855.632.2667).

Refer a Patient

If you are a doctor who wants to refer an esophageal cancer patient to MD Anderson at Cooper, please call 855.MDA.COOPER (855.632.2667).