Surgery for Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer is often treated with surgery. OHSU Knight Cancer Institute has experts in esophageal cancer surgery, including minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery through small incisions.

The type of surgery you have depends on how much cancer there is and if it has spread to other parts of the body. For example, if the cancer is in the top layers of tissue in the esophagus, doctors might just remove the tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue.

If the cancer has spread, doctors might take out some or all of the esophagus, a procedure called an esophagectomy. They might also remove nearby lymph nodes and part of the stomach. If doctors need to remove a large part of the esophagus, it can be replaced with the remaining stomach.

Esophageal cancer surgery is complicated and can have serious side effects. Common side effects include:

  • Infection, bleeding or leaking where the esophagus is attached to the stomach after surgery
  • Trouble swallowing, heartburn and other digestive problems
  • Nausea and vomiting