How It Works
There are several ways to remove the esophagus and the appropriate method is determined for each patient. At UVA, we perform all types of incisions, including minimally invasive approaches, as well as other more traditional incisions.
Two types of surgery are commonly performed for esophageal cancer:
- In one type of surgery, part of the esophagus and nearby lymph nodes are removed, and the remaining portion of the esophagus is reconnected to the stomach.
- In the other surgery, part of the esophagus, nearby lymph nodes and the top of the stomach are removed. The remaining portion of the esophagus is then reconnected to the stomach.
Who Needs An Esophagectomy?
In patients with early stage disease, the optimal esophageal cancer treatment approach is surgery. Although an esophagectomy (removal of the esophagus) is a major operation, it also provides a good cure rate in patients with early stage disease.
Unfortunately, many patients present with more advanced cancer. Surgery as the only form of esophageal cancer treatment is often not satisfactory in this situation. Instead, we may recommend a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy to relieve symptoms and provide a cure. In patients with widespread, incurable esophageal cancer, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy can provide significant symptomatic relief.
There are also a number of endoscopic techniques available, such as stent placement, esophageal dilatation and photodynamic therapy, to help patients swallow that may be very useful when surgery is not an option.
UVA's Esophageal Cancer Research Program
Esophageal cancer is one of the most common thoracic cancers. The five-year survival remains at 15%, in large part because they're often caught at a late stage and there are limited treatment options for more advanced stages.
The lack of more effective therapies is based in large part on a poor understanding of the biology of these cancers.
Our laboratory is focused on attempting to better understand the molecular alterations associated with esophageal cancer. The focus of the laboratory is to generate new knowledge with the ever-present goal to translate these findings into patient treatment.
The UVA Team
At UVA, you'll receive care from a multidisciplinary team that includes medical oncologists, thoracic surgeons, nurses, pathologists and radiologists — all focused on providing you the best care and the most advanced treatment options.
Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.