Surgery for Advanced Esophageal Cancer

Surgery may be a good choice for some who have Stage 4 esophageal cancer.  A palliative esophagectomy relieves symptoms in the majority of patients with inoperable esophageal cancer.

Esophageal dilatation: After chemotherapy, radiation therapy, laser or photodynamic treatment, the area of the esophagus with cancer can be constricted or narrowed. Narrowing of the esophagus may be due to recurrent cancer, to treatment, or by strictures or both. Relief of this constriction by dilating the esophagus may temporarily improve swallowing.

Esophageal stents or prostheses: Stents are rigid tubes that stay in the esophagus to keep it open.

If esophageal cancer has minimal spread to one organ, such as the liver or the lungs, surgery to remove the tumor may be possible.

It is important to have a surgeon on your treatment team.