How do health-care professionals diagnose esophageal cancer?
The diagnosis of esophageal cancer is made by endoscopy and biopsy.
When symptoms of difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) occur, a gastroenterologist can do a procedure called an endoscopy where the patient swallows a flexible tube with an attached camera and the doctor can look at the full length of the esophagus, the stomach, and the first part of the intestine (duodenum). If a mass or tumor is seen in the esophagus, the gastroenterologist has the ability to take a sample of tissue (biopsy) through the same tube. The patient is usually sedated for endoscopy.
The tissue biopsy is examined by a pathologist using a microscope and the clinical diagnosis is then confirmed.