Depending on the stage of the cancer and other factors, treatment for esophageal cancer may include chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery. In many cases, patients will need more than one type of treatment.
Dr. Patel can perform several different surgical procedures for patients with esophageal cancers. For small tumors, Dr. Patel may remove only the tumor and a small amount of tissue around it. For larger tumors, Dr. Patel may perform an esophagectomy, which involves the removal of part of the esophagus, as well as some nearby lymph nodes. Finally, for large, invasive tumors, Dr. Patel may perform an esophagogastrectomy, which involves the removal of part of the esophagus, some nearby lymph nodes, and the upper part of the stomach. These surgeries may be performed laparoscopically, or they may be performed as an open procedure.
After both esophagectomy and esophagogastrostomy, part of the esophagus will be gone from the patient’s body. To compensate for this, Dr. Patel will connect the remaining portion of the esophagus to the stomach. In some cases, Dr. Patel may need to use part of the colon to replace a portion of the missing tube.
Like all surgical procedures, esophageal cancer surgery poses some risks to the patient. Patients who undergo one of these procedures may experience bleeding or infections. Any surgery includes the possibility of a patient having a reaction to anesthesia, but serious complications are rare.
In some cases, patients with small tumors may not need any other treatment after esophageal cancer surgery. However, if the tumor is large and/or invasive, patients may also need to undergo radiation and/or chemotherapy to improve their chances of a cure.