To diagnose esophageal cancer, your doctor will review your symptoms, medical history, and examine you. In addition, he or she may order certain blood tests and X-ray exams.
Tests for esophageal cancer may include:
- Barium swallow X-ray, in which you drink a liquid that coats your esophagus. This makes the esophagus stand out on the X-ray so that your doctor can identify certain problems.
- Endoscopy: the doctor passes an endoscope, a thin, lighted tube, down your throat into your esophagus to examine it. Endoscopic ultrasound uses sound waves to provide more information about the extent of tumor involvement in nearby tissues.
- Biopsy: during an endoscopy, the doctor can take cells or tissue from your esophagus. The cells are examined under a microscope for the presence of cancer.
Other tests, including computed tomography (CT) scans, positron emission tomography (PET) scan, thoracoscopy, and laparaoscopy, may be performed to determine if the cancer has spread, or metastasized, outside of the esophagus. This process is called "staging." The doctor needs this information in order to plan your treatment.
This answer should not be considered medical advice...This answer should not be considered medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor’s visit. Please see the bottom of the page for more information or visit our Terms and Conditions.
Archived: March 20, 2014
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