Screening is a way to evaluate people without symptoms to determine if they are at risk for cancer or have already developed cancer. Screening involves:
- Assessing your medical history and lifestyle habits that may increase or decrease your risk of esophageal cancer
- Using tests to identify early signs of esophageal cancer
There are no screening guidelines or tests specific for esophageal cancer.
However, if you have any risk factors for esophageal cancer, your doctor will want to discuss them with you to help reduce your risk. In certain cases, your doctor may check for the possibility of cancer in the esophagus:
heartburn—If you have chronic heartburn, your doctor may want to take a look at your esophagus with an endoscope. Samples of suspicious looking tissue to test for cancer may also be taken. If a diagnosis is made this way, it could be early enough to cure.
Blood in your stool—If traces of blood show up on routine stool testing for
colon cancer, and your doctor finds no bleeding lesion in your lower gastrointestinal tract, your esophagus and stomach may be examined next. This will most likely be done with an endoscope. If a diagnosis is made this way, it could be early enough to cure.
Esophageal cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated June 2, 2013. Accessed August 5, 2013.
Esophageal cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at:
http://www.nci.nih.gov/cancerinfo/wyntk/esophagus. Accessed August 5, 2013.
Esophagus cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at
http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003098-pdf.pdf. Accessed August 5, 2013.
Last reviewed August 2013 by Mohei Abouzied, MD; Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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