NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Esophageal Cancer, Version 1.2016
A pathologist is a doctor who’s an expert in making
a diagnosis by looking at cells with a microscope.
Samples of the mass will be removed from your body
and sent to a pathologist for testing. All test results will
be written in a pathology report. It’s a good idea to get
a copy of your pathology report since it’s used to plan
Histology is the study of tissue with a microscope. The
pattern and type of cells from the samples are studied
to help determine the histologic type. The pathology
report will state if the samples have cancer cells and
if the cancer started in the esophagus or elsewhere.
If the cancer started in the esophagus, the report will
also list the type of esophageal cancer. Histologic
subtypes of esophageal cancer include squamous cell
carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, and other rare types.
The pathologist also assigns a cancer grade. This
score is a sign of how fast the cancer will likely grow
and spread. Higher scores mean that the cancer
will likely grow and spread fast. The grades for
esophageal cancer are:
means the grade can’t be assessed (often
because there’s not enough tissue),
means the cancer cells look similar to
means the cancer cells are somewhat
different than healthy cells,
means the cancer cells barely look like
healthy cells, and
means the cancer cells don’t look anything
like healthy cells.