NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Esophageal Cancer - page 13

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Esophageal Cancer
Version 1.2013
Part 2: Cancer staging
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The belly area
between the chest and
Loss of
feeling with or without
loss of wakefulness that is
caused by drugs
Barrett’s esophagus:
The presence of stomach
cells within the lining of the
A tool that is
shaped like tongs and used
to grab and cut tissue
Frequent back
wash of stomach contents
into the esophagus
A very small mass
of tissue
A state of
relaxation caused by drugs
Your doctors will assess if you have any risk factors for esophageal cancer.
Smoking, alcohol, and being overweight have been linked with esophageal
cancer. GERD (
isease) and Barrett’s esophagus have
also been linked. However, some people with these conditions don’t get cancer
and some people without these conditions get cancer.
Doctors often perform a physical exam along with taking a medical history. A
physical exam is a review of your body for signs of disease. During this exam,
your doctor will listen to your lungs, heart, and gut. Parts of your body will likely
be felt to see if organs are of normal size, are soft or hard, or cause pain when
touched. Your lymph nodes may feel large if the cancer has spread to them.
Upper GI endoscopy
An upper GI endoscopy allows your doctor to see inside your esophagus
and stomach. For this test, a tool called an endoscope is used. The part of
the endoscope that will be guided down your mouth looks like a thin, long
tube about as thick as a pencil. See Figure 3. You will likely be sedated, but
sometimes anesthesia is used. At the tip of the endoscope is a light and camera
that allows your doctor to see. Your doctor will record where the tumor is, its size
and length, and how much it is blocking your esophagus. Any nodules and any
areas with Barrett’s esophagus will also be noted.
Your doctor will remove a sample of the tumor (or other areas with possible
cancer) with the endoscope. This is called a biopsy. Biopsy samples are
removed with small forceps that are inserted through the open channel of the
endoscope. Six to eight biopsy samples may be removed. After the biopsy, you
may feel some swelling and sound hoarse.
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