The treatment of esophageal cancer can be complicated and may require a team approach. At NewYork-Presbyterian, the members of your healthcare team work together to ensure that you receive the latest comprehensive care in a compassionate and comfortable setting. We specialize in the treatment of esophageal cancer using interventional endoscopy, minimally invasive surgery, chemotherapy, and highly precise radiation therapy. Our ultimate goal: to cure your cancer and maintain your quality of life.
A Team of Experts
Our thoracic surgeons, gastroenterologists, interventional endoscopists, radiation oncologists, and other specialists are known for providing leading medical, surgical, and supportive care for people with esophageal cancer. We will put together 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.
Monitoring for People at High Risk
Some esophageal cancers start with damage caused by chronic acid reflux. We have special programs to monitor and treat people at increased risk of cancer due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or Barrett’s esophagus, including minimally invasive approaches such as endoscopy to check for and remove precancerous lesions and nutritional guidance and treatments to curb GERD symptoms.
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 treat esophageal cancers less invasively through an endoscope (a tube inserted into the esophagus).
- 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 the esophagus.
- Endoscopic tissue removal. Our interventional endoscopists perform both endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) to remove cancerous esophageal tissue of various shapes and depths.
- Ablation. We also treat very early-stage esophageal cancers with heat from radio waves that destroy the tumor (radiofrequency ablation).
- Cryotherapy. Extremely cold temperatures can also be used to treat superficial cancers of the esophagus that cannot be removed through other means. An endoscopist uses a super-cooled liquid or gas to freeze abnormal cells before removing them. Cryotherapy can be beneficial to control bleeding from esophageal tumors in some people.
- Esophageal stent. People with blockages in the esophagus can have a stent (a mesh tube) inserted to widen the esophageal opening so they can eat solid foods.
Minimally Invasive Surgery
At NewYork-Presbyterian, we use minimally invasive surgical approaches whenever appropriate—such as laparoscopy or video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATS)—for some early-stage esophageal cancers. Telescopes placed through small incisions in the chest and abdomen are used to visualize, grasp, and remove diseased esophageal tissue and surrounding lymph nodes. Our thoracic surgeons also have a great deal of experience performing more extensive esophageal cancer operations 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 pain afterward, fewer complications, and a shorter hospital stay. That means a faster recovery and a quicker return to your regular activities. If you develop complications, such as heart trouble, NewYork-Presbyterian cardiologists will work with your care team to help you heal. We attend to all aspects of your care.
The Latest Chemotherapy
You may receive chemotherapy before surgery to shrink your tumor and after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells, and you may receive it in combination with radiation therapy. Pre-surgical therapy increases the likelihood of complete removal of your tumor during surgery and improves your chance of a cure. Your doctor will let you know which medications are most effective for your stage and type of cancer.
Radiation Therapy with Precision
You may receive radiation therapy before or after surgery or 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 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 can receive an innovative investigational treatment by participating in a clinical trial.