Esophageal Cancer (cont.)

Taking Part in Cancer Research

Doctors all over the country are conducting many types of clinical trials (research studies in which people volunteer to take part). Clinical trials are designed to answer important questions and to find out whether new approaches are safe and effective.

Research already has led to advances that have helped people live longer, and research continues. Doctors are trying to find better ways to care for people with esophageal cancer:

  • Surgery: Surgeons are studying whether small cuts can be used instead of long incisions. The surgeon makes small cuts in the neck, chest, and abdomen. The surgeon sees inside the chest with a laparoscope, and the cancer-containing esophagus is removed.
  • Chemotherapy and biological therapy: NCI is sponsoring a study of biological therapy (a monoclonal antibody) combined with chemotherapy.
  • Supportive care: Doctors are also testing ways to manage the problems caused by cancer and its treatment.

Even if the people in a trial do not benefit directly, they may still make an important contribution by helping doctors learn more about cancer and how to control it. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, doctors do all they can to protect their patients.

If you're interested in being part of a clinical trial, talk with your doctor.

National Cancer Institute Information Resources

You may want more information for yourself, your family, and your doctor. The following NCI services are available to help you.


NCI's Cancer Information Service (CIS) provides accurate, up-to-date information about cancer to patients and their families, health professionals, and the general public. Information specialists translate the latest scientific information into plain language, and they will respond in English or Spanish, as well as through TRS providers for the hearing or speech impaired. Calls to the CIS are confidential and free.

Telephone: 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)


NCI's Web site provides information from numerous NCI sources. It offers current information about cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, genetics, supportive care, and ongoing clinical trials. It has information about NCI's research programs, funding opportunities, and cancer statistics.

Web site:
Spanish Web site:

If you're unable to find what you need on the Web site, contact NCI staff. Use the online contact form at or send an email to

Also, information specialists provide live, online assistance through LiveHelp at

Jay B. Zatzkin, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Medical Oncology


U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. Last update: 11/21/2008

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/14/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Esophageal Cancer - Symptoms and Signs Question: What were the symptoms and signs you experienced with esophageal cancer?
Esophageal Cancer - Prognosis Question: What is your esophageal cancer prognosis?
Esophageal Cancer - Types Question: Do you or someone you know have adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus? Please share your story.
Esophageal Cancer - Risk Factors Question: Do you have any of the risk factors for esophageal cancer? What are they, and what are your concerns?
Esophageal Cancer - Diagnosis Question: What kinds of tests and exams led to a diagnosis of esophageal cancer?
Esophageal Cancer - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment, including radiation or chemotherapy, did you receive for esophageal cancer?
Esophageal Cancer - Surgery Question: Please describe the surgical experience you or someone you know had for esophageal cancer.
Esophageal Cancer - Second Opinion Question: How did you go about getting a second opinion for your esophageal cancer?
Esophageal Cancer - Follow-Up Care Question: What type of follow-up care did you receive for your esophageal cancer?