Because esophageal cancer affects a relatively small, albeit rapidly growing, population, most hospitals have experience treating only a small number of patients with this disease.
At the Duke Cancer Institute, our specialists see up to 200 patients with cancer of the esophagus each year -- 10 to 20 times the number as are seen at most other hospitals.
In a field where experience and patient volume is directly correlated with positive patient outcomes, the Duke Esophageal Cancer Program offers a distinct advantage to our patients.
The Duke Cancer Institute offers patients the full array of the latest, scientifically-proven diagnostic and treatment options. Our physicians lead the way in defining the role of chemotherapy and radiation to treat tumors of the esophagus. Novel treatments are often available through our robust clinical trials program.
Treatment options available at the Duke Cancer Institute include medical and radiation therapy as well as surgery. Our highly experienced thoracic surgeons perform more than 60 esophageal resections each year.
The outlook for patients with early-stage cancer is good. For later-stage esophageal cancer, treatment may focus on relieving symptoms rather than achieving a complete cure.
The outlook for people with esophageal cancer is much better than it was 10 years ago because of improved treatments and improved monitoring of a precancerous condition that can lead to esophageal cancer.
Our esophageal cancer clinic is among the few medical institutions offering coordinated, multidisciplinary care for patients battling esophageal cancer. With one appointment, at one site, patients can see experienced cancer specialists from the full range of disciplines needed to provide expert diagnosis and treatment.
On a first visit to the clinic, most patients will see a thoracic surgeon, medical oncologist, and radiation oncologist in back-to-back appointments.
For the convenience of our patients, many of whom travel to Duke from around the Southeast, most diagnostic tests will also be scheduled with a gastroenterologist for the same day.
Our medical experts will then meet to determine the best course of treatment given each patient’s individual circumstances, and will discuss the options with the patient and his or her family to decide how to proceed.
Because cancer treatment can significantly affect quality of life, the Duke Esophageal Cancer Program offers rehabilitation, education, and support services to maintain a high quality of life during and after treatment.
Our doctors and scientists are always working to improve treatment and patient care through research. Many patients are able to participate in clinical trials, providing access to treatments and therapies not available at most medical centers.
Learn how to make an appointment at the Duke Cancer Institute.