Esophageal Cancer

Dr. John Hunter enjoys talking with patients
Dr. John Hunter (left) developed the surgery that has become the cornerstone treatment for many patients with esophageal cancer.

Esophageal cancer requires expert care. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is nationally recognized for our experience in treating patients with this cancer. We offer you: 

  • Expertise in all types of treatment for this condition.
  • A team approach, with doctors working together to support you.
  • A culture of innovation with clinical trials and the latest technology.
  • Care for you as a whole person, with the resources of a major research university.

Our expertise

We have both deep and broad experience in esophageal cancer. We are a center for esophagectomy, the cornerstone surgery for this condition. Our surgical team does 40 to 60  a year. We also have specialists in:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Nutrition

    Top minds together

    Specialists meet every other week at a tumor board to look at every new case of esophageal cancer. They pool their knowledge and go over test results and treatment options one patient at a time. Experts include: 

    • Surgeons schooled in the latest techniques and technology. 
    • Medical oncologists, who treat cancer with drugs. 
    • Radiation oncologists, who treat cancer with radiation.
    • Radiologists, who read scans to see the size and location of tumors.
    • Pathologists, who are skilled in diagnosing tumors under the microscope.
    • A nurse navigator, who can guide you through every step of treatment.
    • A patient advocate to offer you information and encouragement. Our patient advocate is an esophageal cancer survivor and former surgeon. 

      The latest technology and techniques

      We’re constantly seeking new ways to help our patients:

      • Clinical trials: The Knight Cancer Institute is a leader in conducting clinical trials to test new treatments. Trials offer access to new therapies before they are widely available.
      • Surgery: The cornerstone of treatment for esophageal cancer, minimally invasive esophagectomy (with small incisions), was developed by OHSU surgeon John Hunter. We use a team-based approach to improve outcomes, speed recovery and reduce pain.
      • Radiation therapy: We use advanced technology to target cancer with powerful doses of radiation while sparing healthy tissue.
      • Immunotherapy: New research suggests that immunotherapy can help some patients with advanced esophageal cancer. We are conducting a clinical trial to see if immunotherapy can help more patients.
      • Cancer registry: Our database helps scientists explore new ways to find and treat esophageal cancer. Learn about OHSU cancer registries.

        Treating you as a whole person

        Esophageal cancer is a complex condition. From diagnosis to treatment and monitoring, your relationship with us may span five years or more. We are with you for the long haul.

        We also offer a full range of support services, including:

        • Nutrition services
        • Social workers
        • Support groups
        • Palliative care

        Learn about resources for you and your family.

        For patients

        Call 503-494-7999 to:

        • Request an appointment
        • Seek a second opinion
        • Ask questions


        Knight Cancer Institute, South Waterfront

        Center for Health & Healing, Building 2
        3485 S. Bond Ave.
        Portland, OR 97239

        Free parking for patients and visitors

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        Stay informed

        News: Read about research breakthroughs, patient care and many other topics on our OHSU News site.