Cancer Institute A national cancer institute
designated cancer center

Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer of the Esophagus

The esophagus is the tube that connects your throat to your stomach.

Tobacco and alcohol use are major risk factors for developing esophageal cancer, particularly tumors in the part of the esophagus closest to the throat. These tumors tend to be squamous cell carcinomas.

In addition, things that irritate the esophagus such as acid reflux (where acid from the stomach leaks into the esophagus) can increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer, particularly tumors closest to the stomach. These tumors tend to be adenocarcinomas.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 14,000 people are diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the United States each year. Because esophageal cancer is relatively rare, it is important to make sure that your physicians have experience treating this particular disease.

Stanford Experience

In addition to the standard diagnostic tests for esophageal cancer, physicians at the Cancer Center regularly offer PET scanning which adds accuracy to the diagnosis and staging of the disease.

Physicians at the Stanford Cancer Center have experience with state-of-the-art surgical and radiation treatment for esophageal cancer.

For example, the surgeons in the Department of Gastrointestinal Surgery can provide skilled management of complex esophageal cancer. Surgeries include a transhiatal esophagectomy and an Ivor Lewis esophagectomy.

In both surgeries the majority of the esophagus and the proximal portion of the stomach are resected and the stomach is fashioned into a tube and reconnected to the proximal esophageal remnant in the upper chest or neck.

Advanced Experimental Treatment
Cancer Center physicians actively study new therapies for patients with esophageal cancer. When appropriate, patients are invited to participate in studies to investigate the newest treatments as well as large-scale clinical trials for more established treatments.

Stanford physicians like Drs. Lauren Gerson, M. Bishr Omary, and George Triadafilopoulos are experienced in the treatment and monitoring of patients with a condition called Barrett's Esophagus that results from long-term acid reflux, and can lead to esophageal cancer.

Contact information

You can choose to come to the Stanford Cancer Center at any point in your care.  Please call (650) 498-6000 for assistance in scheduling a new patient appointment with the appropriate specialist.

If you are not a resident of the United States and would like more information on how to access services in the Stanford Cancer Center, or other programs at Stanford Hospital & Clinics, please contact International Medical Services by calling 1-877-487-0237 or send an email to

Mailing Address
Stanford Cancer Center
875 Blake Wilbur Drive
Stanford, CA  94305

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