Esophageal cancer specialists coordinate advanced medical care
Esophageal cancer develops in the tissues of your esophagus, but it affects so much more. As with any cancer, it can profoundly impact your physical and emotional health. The doctors and nurses at Tufts Medical Center’s Esophageal Cancer Program understand the concerns you have and the challenges you face. That’s why we have developed a program that will support you and your family throughout treatment.
When you come to Tufts MC, you will find all of the specialists you need working as a team to determine the best options for you. Physicians from surgery, oncology, radiation oncology, pulmonology and gastroenterology have special expertise in treating thoracic cancers. Together they will evaluate your condition and create a coordinated plan to provide you innovative and advanced treatments.
What can I expect when I come to Tufts Medical Center?
Coming to a major academic medical center can intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s why we provide you with a nurse navigator to guide you throughout your path to recovery. The nurse navigator will work with you and your family to schedule appointments, manage symptoms and coordinate care.
We quickly arrange for the tests you need to learn more about your condition and how advanced it is. We also coordinate your appointments with specialists who will often all see you during a single appointment. This is not only more convenient for you but also allows your team to truly work together to develop your treatment plan.
The team may recommend that you receive advanced treatments such as targeted radiation therapy, chemotherapy and radiation. If surgery is necessary, we will use a minimally invasive approach that is as effective as conventional surgery but requires less recovery time.
Throughout your treatment, we focus on effective pain management, maintenance of good nutrition and emotional support.
Risk factors for esophageal cancer include:
- Smoking or use of tobacco
- Heavy alcohol use
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
- Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that may be caused by GERD and can cause changes in the cells of the esophagus that increase the risk of a certain type of cancer.
Esophageal cancer does not always cause discernible symptoms. Patients may have the disease without feeling that anything is wrong. Patients may experience symptoms that include:
- Difficult or painful swallowing
- Weight loss
- Chest pain, behind the breastbone
- Indigestion and heartburn