Esophageal Cancer Survivorship

About Esophageal Cancer

At Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center, patients with esophageal cancer receive their care from a multidisciplinary team of nationally recognized experts in the diagnosis, treatment and research of gastrointestinal cancer.

Esophageal cancer is cancer that develops within the lining of the esophagus, the muscular tube through which food passes from the mouth to the stomach.

There are two types of esophageal cancer:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma: Cancer that begins in the flat skin-like cells lining the esophagus.
  • Adenocarcinoma: Cancer that begins in the intestinal-type cells that make and release mucus and other fluids.

Penn Medicine's multidisciplinary approach to cancer diagnosis and treatment provides better outcomes and gives patients access to the most advanced treatment, surgical techniques and clinical trials.

Because navigating a cancer diagnosis and treatment options can be difficult, patients who wish to connect with a cancer specialist at Penn Medicine can speak with a cancer nurse, who can help them make an appointment with the right physician.

To connect with a cancer nurse at Penn Medicine, patients should call 800-789-PENN (7366).

Read more About Esophageal Cancer

Diagnosing Esophageal Cancer

An accurate cancer diagnosis from trusted cancer specialists is the first step in developing personalized treatment options for esophageal cancer.

Patients who choose Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center benefit from a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists including gastroenterologists, radiologists, pathologists and surgeons who work together to provide a diagnosis and treatment plan custom designed for each patient with esophageal cancer.

Cancer specialists at Penn Medicine are highly experienced in using the most advanced techniques for diagnosing esophageal cancer and are actively researching better and more precise ways to detect esophageal cancer.

An accurate diagnosis is a critical step in planning cancer treatment, so it’s important patients know that when they come to the Abramson Cancer Center, they are taking an important step in getting the best cancer treatment available.

Navigating a cancer diagnosis and treatment options can be difficult, patients who wish to connect with a cancer specialist at Penn Medicine can speak with a cancer nurse, who can help them make an appointment with the right physician.

To connect with a cancer nurse at Penn Medicine, patients should call 800-789-PENN (7366).

Read more Diagnosing Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal Cancer Treatment

Following the diagnosis and staging of esophageal cancer, cancer specialists at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center develop a personalized treatment plan. Penn's treatment options for esophageal cancer include:

  • Surgery
    • Esophagectomy
  • Radiation therapy
    • 3-D conformal radiation therapy
    • Intensity-modulated radiation treatment (IMRT)
    • Volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT)
    • Proton therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Endoscopy
    • Endoscopic mucosal resection
    • Radiofrequency ablation
    • Integrative medicine and wellness
    • Palliative care
    • Penn Home Care and Hospice

Because navigating a cancer diagnosis and treatment options can be difficult, patients who wish to connect with a cancer specialist at Penn Medicine can speak with a cancer nurse, who can help them make an appointment with the right physician.

To connect with a cancer nurse at Penn Medicine, patients should call 800-789-PENN (7366).

Read more Esophageal Cancer Treatment

Esophageal Cancer Survivorship

Survivorship programs at Penn Medicine are a distinct phase of esophageal cancer care and are designed to help patients' transition from their cancer treatment routine to a post-cancer care lifestyle. There are more than 12 million cancer survivors living and thriving today as a result of advances in cancer treatment. However, cancer treatments can result in physical, emotional and financial complications long after the therapy is complete.


Personalized Survivorship Care

At the end of treatment, esophageal cancer patients should schedule a survivorship visit with their oncologist and nurse practitioner. At this time, patients are provided with a summary of the treatment received as well as a plan for follow-up care.

Penn cancer providers work one-on-one with esophageal cancer patients to develop their survivorship care plans. Since every cancer is unique, the plans are tailored to the patients. 

The survivorship care plan includes information on:

  • Potential long-term or late side effects of cancer treatment, their symptoms and treatment.
  • Recommendations for cancer screening for disease recurrence or a new cancer.
  • Psychosocial effects, including concerns with relationships and sexuality.
  • Planning follow-up visits.

Survivorship care plans encourages patients to review the information with their healthcare team and become active participants in their follow-up care.

Penn also offers esophageal cancer patients a number of support programs and groups to enhance their survivorship care plans.

Oncology Navigation Specialists

Every step of cancer treatment – from cancer diagnosis, to surgery and treatment to forming a survivorship plan – comes with different needs and issues that should be addressed.

Oncology Navigation Specialists at the Abramson Cancer Center are available to make a patient’s experience as seamless as possible. As experts in navigating complex health care situations, patient support specialists serve as a consistent point of contact and a reliable source for advice, support and direction for patients and families. They can help in a variety of ways including; provide emotional support, identify resources, and ensure access to information, support services, educational programs and community resources.

Learn more about patient navigation specialists at the Abramson Cancer Center.

Survivorship Programs at Penn Medicine

Penn Medicine’s Living Well After Cancer™ Program is a nationally recognized program that focuses on issues facing cancer survivors. In 2007, the Abramson Cancer Center was designated a LIVESTRONG™ Survivorship Center of Excellence Network.  The Abramson Cancer Center is only one of eight LIVESTRONG centers in the United States, and is the only LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence in the Philadelphia region. The program focuses on survivorship, a distinct phase of care.

Prescription for Living: The Cancer Survivorship Program at the Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital provides patients with a summary of important information about specific cancer diagnoses and treatments, as well as follow-up information and steps to take towards recovery, supportive care and education to help patients adjust to their lives as cancer survivors.

Continued Support

Penn offers cancer patients support programs and groups to enhance their survivorship care plans.

The Abramson Cancer Center hosts a wide range of materials and activities that provide education and support to address key areas of concern including survivorship for cancer patients and their loved ones.

Focus On: Gastrointestinal Cancers is a day-long conference that addresses issues for patients with esophageal cancer, as well as their loved ones.

The Abramson Cancer Center at Pennsylvania Hospital also offers an esophageal cancer support group for patients and their loved ones. Facilitated by a registered dietitian and a social worker, this group offers education, guest speakers and emotional support.


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Clinical Trials