There is no such thing as routine esophageal cancer. Every patient’s esophageal cancer is different, with different, individually unique genes and molecules driving each person’s specific cancer.

At the OSUCCC – James, our esophageal cancer specialists are world-renowned cancer experts who focus solely on esophageal cancer and who reach across medical disciplines (oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, gastroenterologists, hepatologists, pharmacists and more) to design the very best treatment plan and therapies to target each patient’s specific cancer.

And by offering access to the country’s most advanced clinical trials right here at the OSUCCC – James, patients know that additional options, when needed, are often available for their treatment and care.

Facts About Esophageal Cancer

The esophagus is a hollow, muscular tube that moves food and liquid from the throat to the stomach. Esophageal cancer most often starts in the lining, or outer layer, and moves out into the other layers as it grows.

Though more than 18,000 Americans are diagnosed with esophageal cancer every year, the disease represents only about 1 percent of all diagnosed cancers. It is more prevalent in other parts of the world such as Asia and parts of Africa.

Esophageal Gastrointestinal System

In the United States, esophageal cancer occurs more often in men and patients with long-term issues like acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Esophageal cancer tends to be more prevalent in patients who have a condition called Barrett’s esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus occurs when the cells lining the lower part of the esophagus become abnormal. Persistent acid reflux — the backing up of stomach contents into the lower section of the esophagus — may irritate the esophagus and, over time, turn into a more serious condition that can cause Barrett’s esophagus.

Types of Esophageal Cancer

The types of esophageal cancer are named after the cells where the cancer begins.


begins in the glandular cells of the esophagus and make up the majority of esophageal cancers. It is most common in the United States. Usually, these tumors are found in the lower part of the esophagus, near the stomach. This type of cancer is related to having acid reflux, Barrett’s esophagus or being obese.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

begins in the thin, flat cells that line the esophagus. This type of cancer occurs more often outside of the United States. Usually, these types of tumors are found in the upper part of the esophagus. This type of cancer may be related to the heavy use of alcohol or tobacco.

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Esophageal Cancer Symptoms

Esophageal cancer often does not have symptoms in the early stages. Once symptoms occur, they may include the following:

  • Painful or difficult swallowing. Patients often report feeling like food is stuck in the throat or chest
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Pain in the middle of the chest behind the breastbone; his can include chest pain, pressure or a feeling of burning in the throat
  • Hoarseness and cough
  • Persistent indigestion and heartburn

These symptoms do not always mean you have esophageal cancer. However, it is important to discuss any symptoms with your doctor, since they may indicate other health problems.

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

If you have received an esophageal cancer diagnosis, or if you want a second opinion or just want to speak to an esophageal cancer specialist, we are eager to help you. Call 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 W. 10th Ave.

Columbus, Ohio 43210


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