Causes and Symptoms

Tumor Types and Cancers Treated

Squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus: Squamous cell carcinoma most often occurs in the upper and middle thirds of the esophagus and is related to use of tobacco products. When the tumor is located in the upper third of the esophagus, treatment can usually be accomplished with chemotherapy and radiation therapy only—without the need for surgery.

Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and esophagogastric junction: The incidence of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and esophagogastric junction is increasing dramatically. The increase seems to be related to the higher incidence of obesity and gastroesophageal reflux that may result in the development of Barrett’s esophagus, a premalignant condition that can progress to cancer. Early-stage cancers are treated by surgical removal or, when the cancers are very early, by endoscopic mucosal resection. Locally advanced cancers are treated with preoperative chemotherapy and radiation therapy, followed by surgical removal. Sometimes, adenocarcinoma can be identified in the premalignant phase and treated nonsurgically by endoscopy.

Adenocarcinoma of the stomach: The incidence of adenocarcinoma of the stomach has been decreasing. Early-stage cancers confined to the mucosa (innermost lining of the stomach) may be treatable with endoscopic mucosal resection. For patients with locally advanced cancers, combined modality treatment has resulted in better cure rates than in the past.

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors of the stomach: Many patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) can be treated with minimally invasive surgery. Only the affected portion of the stomach is removed, and outcomes are very good. Large GIST tumors may require major, open surgical removal and also drug treatment with one of the new class of oral drugs targeted at tumor growth pathways.

 

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