The treatment of esophageal cancer is complicated and often requires a team approach. At NewYork-Presbyterian, the members of your healthcare team work together to ensure that you receive cutting edge, comprehensive care in a compassionate and comfortable setting. We specialize in the treatment of esophageal cancer using interventional endoscopy, minimally invasive surgery, chemotherapy and targeted therapy and highly precise radiation therapy. Our ultimate goal is to cure your cancer while maintaining your quality of life.
A Team of Experts
Our thoracic surgeons, medical oncologists, gastroenterologists, interventional endoscopists, radiation oncologists, and other specialists are internationally known for providing advanced care for people with esophageal cancer. We will assemble a team of healthcare professionals to provide the care you need. When planning your treatment, our physicians consider the type, location, and stage of your cancer, as well as your age and physical health, to personalize and optimize your cancer care.
Monitoring for People at High Risk
Some esophageal cancers start with damage caused by chronic acid reflux. We have special noninvasive or endoscopic programs to monitor and treat people at increased risk of cancer due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or Barrett’s esophagus. The Jay Monahan Center and our advanced endoscopy programs provide surveillance services. Our nuanced nutrition programs help patients to minimize GERD, which can reduce their risk of Barrett’s esophagus and thereby lower their chance of developing esophageal cancer.
Advanced Interventional Endoscopy
NewYork-Presbyterian is home to one of the most comprehensive interventional endoscopy programs in our region, enabling us to screen, diagnose, and sometimes even treat esophageal cancers using nonsurgical endoscopic approaches. GI endoscopy plus optical coherence tomography. For the surveillance and diagnosis of esophageal cancer and its precursor disorder, Barrett’s esophagus, our endoscopists supplement upper GI endoscopy with optical coherence tomography. This technology uses high-intensity light to map the top layers of tissue in the esophagus and identify suspected tumors.
- Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS). EUS involves the use of a special endoscope with high-energy sound waves ("echoendoscope") to visualize your digestive tract and nearby organs. It is very useful for evaluating esophageal tumors and nearby lymph nodes.
- Endoscopic tissue removal. Our interventional endoscopists and surgeons perform both endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) to remove cancerous esophageal tissue of various shapes and depths.
- Ablation. We also can treat some very early-stage esophageal cancers with heat from radio waves that can destroy the tumor (radiofrequency ablation).
- Esophageal stent. People with blockages in the esophagus can have a stent (a mesh tube) inserted to widen the esophageal opening so that they can eat solid foods.
- Cryotherapy. Extremely cold temperatures can also be used to treat superficial cancers of the esophagus that cannot be removed by other means. An endoscopist uses a super-cooled liquid or gas to freeze abnormal cells before removing them. Cryotherapy can also be beneficial to control bleeding from esophageal tumors in some patients.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
At NewYork-Presbyterian, we use minimally invasive surgical approaches whenever appropriate — such as laparoscopy or video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATS) — for both early-stage and locally advanced esophageal cancers. Scopes and small instruments placed through small incisions in the chest and abdomen are used to visualize, dissect, and remove esophageal cancer and surrounding lymph nodes. Our thoracic surgeons also have a great deal of experience performing more extensive esophageal cancer operations for complex cancers when less invasive approaches are not possible.
Accelerating Your Recovery
We developed our advanced surgical techniques with your recovery in mind. Minimally invasive surgery may lead to less postoperative pain, fewer complications, and a shorter hospital stay. That means a faster recovery and a quicker return to your regular activities. Enhanced recovery after surgery programs is in place to streamline and guide your postoperative course while allowing for individual needs. We attend to all aspects of your care.
The Latest Chemotherapy
You may receive chemotherapy before surgery to shrink your tumor and sometimes after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells. Sometimes, you may receive chemotherapy in combination with radiation therapy. Pre-surgical (neoadjuvant) therapy increases the likelihood of complete removal of your tumor during surgery and improves your chance of a cure. Your doctor will work with you to determine which types of therapy are most effective for your stage and kind of cancer.
Radiation Therapy with Precision
You may receive radiation therapy before or after surgery, sometimes to increase the likelihood of complete removal at surgery and sometimes to relieve symptoms, such as an inability to swallow solid foods. We use 3D imaging to shape and target high doses of radiation directly to your tumor, killing cancer cells while sparing nearby healthy tissue. Our radiation oncologists offer sophisticated treatments for esophageal cancer, including in some instances the placement of small catheters threaded to the site of your tumor to deliver a high, pinpointed dose of radiation.
Access to Clinical Trials
Our researchers are directing clinical trials evaluating novel treatment approaches for esophageal cancer. NewYork-Presbyterian is now evaluating immunotherapy for esophageal cancer, which harnesses the power of your immune system to fight cancer and has transformed the treatment of many other solid tumors. Your treatment team will let you know if you are eligible to receive an innovative investigational treatment by participating in a clinical trial.