Penn Medicine offers patients one of the largest gastrointestinal surgery programs in the United States with nationally recognized cancer specialists. Penn's GI surgery program has a record of high-quality patient care and long-term survival, offering better outcomes for patients having surgery.
Nationally, surgery is the most common treatment for esophageal cancer, though the use of endoscopic therapies for early tumors is rapidly increasing. For limited stage esophageal cancer, surgery may be the only treatment needed.
Esophagectomy is the most common form of surgery for patients with esophageal cancer. In this procedure, the part of the esophagus affected by cancer is removed. The healthy part of the esophagus is then connected to the stomach. Lymph nodes near the esophagus are also removed and examined for cancer. If the esophagus is blocked by a tumor, an expandable stent, or tube, may be placed prior to surgery to help keep the esophagus open to improve nutritional status, or after surgery to alleviate symptoms.