Esophageal Cancer Treatments

Treatment depends on the stage of the esophageal cancer at the time of diagnosis, as well as your overall condition and the symptoms you are having. Treatments for esophageal cancer may include:

  • Surgery: If esophageal cancer has not spread to other organs, an esophagectomy is the primary treatment. This surgical procedure may be used in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the entire body.
    Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill or shrink cancer cells.
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT): This procedure uses an endoscope with a laser on the end to destroy cancer cells on or near the inner lining of the esophagus.

Prognosis for patients with esophageal cancer depends on the stage of the cancer at time of diagnosis, with 80 to 90 percent of patients recovering if the cancer is discovered early enough. Overall success rates for patients with later stage esophageal cancer are far lower.


Depending on the stage of your esophageal cancer and your condition, treatment may include chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy, alone or in combination.