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24

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Esophageal Cancer, Version 1.2016

3

Preparing for treatment

Cancer tests

Barrett’s esophagus, Bloom syndrome, tylosis,

and Fanconi anemia are health conditions that are

strongly linked to esophageal cancer. You should

be referred to a genetic counselor if you have such

conditions. A genetic counselor is an expert in

changes within genes that are related to disease.

Physical exam

Doctors often perform a physical exam along with

taking a medical history. A physical exam is a study of

your body for signs of disease. During this exam, your

doctor will listen to your lungs, heart, and gut.

Your doctor will also look at and feel parts of your

body. This is done to see if organs are of normal size,

are soft or hard, or cause pain when touched. Cancer

and other health conditions can cause organs to

become enlarged and hard.

CBC

A CBC (

c

omplete

b

lood

c

ount) gives important

information about the parts of blood. One example

is the number of white blood cells, red blood cells,

and platelets. Your blood counts may be low because

the cancer has spread into your bones, the cancer

is causing bleeding, or because of another health

problem.

Comprehensive chemistry profile

Chemicals in your blood come from your liver, bone,

and other organs. A comprehensive chemistry profile

assesses if the chemicals in your blood are too low

or high. Abnormal levels can be caused by spread of

cancer or by other diseases.

CT scan with contrast

CT (

c

omputed

t

omography) is used to help stage the

cancer. It is an imaging test that makes pictures of the

insides of your body. The pictures are called images.

CT takes many pictures of a body part from different

angles using x-rays. A computer combines the x-rays

to make detailed pictures.

A CT scan of your chest and abdomen is advised.

A CT scan of your pelvis is advised if other tests

suggest that the cancer has spread to your pelvis.

A contrast dye should be used to make the pictures

clearer. The dye will be injected into your vein and

mixed with a liquid you drink.

Contrast may cause you to feel flushed or get hives.

Rarely, serious allergic reactions occur. Tell your

doctor and the technicians if you have had bad

reactions in the past.