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Esophageal Cancer

Where is the best place to go!!

12/28/2007

Question:

My father was just diagnosed with lower esophageal cancer. Where is the very best treatment spot for someone that is older (72) but in perfect health other than this tumor in the lower third of the esophagus? From a loving daughter that wants the best for her father. Merry Christmas.

Answer:

I am sorry to hear of this news. There are several centers in the country that are well known for treating this cancer. Unfortunately, this cancer is becoming increasingly prevalent over the last few years. So many centers, including ours at the University of Cincinnati, are national leaders in cancer research and treatment. Choosing where to go would largely depend on your location as there are many centers to choose from. Centers that see a high volume of esophageal cancer are best suited for appropriate post operative care and adjuvant (radiation and chemo) therapy.

I am a minimally invasive surgeon who specializes in performing esophageal and gastric (stomach) surgeries, including esophagectomies (removing the esophagus due to cancer). We can now perform this operation with tiny incisions using a camera in the abdomen. This has the advantage of less pain and discomfort after the operation.
 
I must also add that performing this operation laparoscopically (with small incisions) as opposed to the traditional approach (open esophagectomy) has no oncological or safety advantage, but primarily is a less painful and more elegant and a more cosmetic procedure. This will be a hard operation for your father despite his good health.

I strongly suggest that you get in to see a surgeon of your choosing before you see a medical oncologist.

I wish you good luck and a Happy New Year.

Related Resources:

Search for a Surgeon (Cardiothoracic Surgery Network)
Find an Otolaryngologist (American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery)
Find a Doctor (American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy)
Request an Appointment at UC, OSU, CWRU

For more information:

Go to the Esophageal Cancer health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Prakash  Gatta, MD Prakash Gatta, MD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati