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NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Esophageal Cancer, Version 1.2016


Preparing for treatment

Cancer tests

Upper GI endoscopy

An upper GI (




ntestinal) endoscopy allows your

doctor to see inside your esophagus and stomach. It

is also called an EGD (







For this test, a tool called an endoscope is used.

Part of the endoscope will be guided down your

mouth or nose. This part looks like a thin, long tube.

The tube is a little thicker than a pencil if guided down

your mouth, and if down your nose, it’s about as thick

a piece of spaghetti.

See Figure 7

. You will likely

be sedated and thus unaware of the test while it is

occurring. However, general anesthesia is sometimes


At the tip of the endoscope is a light and camera

that allows your doctor to see your esophagus. 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 may obtain a sample of the tumor. This

is called a biopsy. Also, samples from tissue at high

risk for cancer and tissue with possible cancer may

be collected. The presence of Barrett’s metaplasia or

dysplasia increases the likelihood of cancer.

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. Biopsy samples will be sent to a pathologist

for testing. After the endoscopy, you may feel some

swelling and sound hoarse.








ound) uses both imaging

and an endoscope to see how deep the tumor has

grown into the esophageal wall. Also, signs of cancer

within lymph nodes and other nearby organs can be


Like EGD, you will likely be sedated for EUS. The

EUS endoscope will be guided down your esophagus.

Figure 7.

Upper GI endoscopy

“Scopes” are tools that are inserted into

your body to let your doctor see live video

of inside your body. An endoscope is one

such tool that is guided down your mouth

into your stomach. It allows your doctor

to see the inner wall of your esophagus

and stomach. If ultrasound is used, your

doctor will be able to see the deeper wall

layers and nearby organs.

Illustration Copyright © 2016 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved.