• Screening for Esophageal Cancer

    Screening is a way to evaluate people without symptoms to determine if they are at risk for cancer or have already developed cancer. Screening involves:
    • Assessing your medical history and lifestyle habits that may increase or decrease your risk of esophageal cancer
    • Using tests to identify early signs of esophageal cancer

    Screening Guidelines

    There are no screening guidelines or tests specific for esophageal cancer.
    However, if you have any risk factors for esophageal cancer, your physician will want to discuss them with you to help reduce your risk. In certain cases, your doctor may check for the possibility of cancer in the esophagus:
    Chronic heartburn —If you have chronic heartburn, your doctor may want to take a look at your esophagus with an endoscope. He or she may take samples of suspicious looking tissue to test for cancer. If a diagnosis is made this way, it could be early enough to cure.
    Blood in your stool —If traces of blood show up on routine stool testing for colon cancer , and your doctor finds no bleeding lesion in your lower gastrointestinal tract, your esophagus and stomach may be examined next. This will most likely be done with an endoscope. If a diagnosis is made this way, it could be early enough to cure.

    References

    Esophageal cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.nci.nih.gov/cancerinfo/wyntk/esophagus . Accessed December 2, 2002.

    Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. McGraw-Hill; 1998.

    Neoplasms of the esophagus. American Cancer Society website. Available at http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp . Accessed November 30, 2002.

    Revision Information


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