This Is How Your Doctor Will Determine If You Have Esophageal Cancer

Posted on: 17 December 2019

Esophageal cancer is a dangerous disease that needs to be caught as early on as possible in order to be treated adequately. This is why it's important to go along with your doctor's diagnostic tests so that you can rule out esophageal cancer as a potential problem that you're having. Whether you've been having trouble eating or swallowing or just having pain, this test will help your gastroenterologist to determine what's wrong, and possibly what isn't.

General Anesthesia

The procedure you'll be having is called an endoscopy. This procedure is performed while you're placed under general anesthesia, so that you won't feel or remember any part of it. You'll be given the anesthesia via an IV, so you won't feel it going in, but you should remember drifting off. Then you'll wake up some time later after the procedure is done and you'll be able to go home soon after.

Tiny Camera

An endoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to take a look at the inside of your throat, the esophagus. During the endoscopy, a small tube will be placed down your throat to keep your esophagus expanded and open. Then, a tiny camera will be threaded down that will look at all the tissue in your throat. Any areas of concern will be photographed repeatedly so that your doctor can look at them in detail afterwards. This will be done for the full extend of the esophagus, and potentially the top of the stomach depending upon where you've been reporting having problems.


The last thing your doctor will do is take a biopsy of any suspicious looking areas in the esophagus. This is essentially a tiny tissue sample that's cut out and kept to be sent to a laboratory. There, lab technicians will look at the tissue under a microscope to determine if it's cancerous or benign. The test result will be sent back to your doctor and they'll relay the information to you. Biopsies are extremely useful in determining if tissue is a concern, as areas that look like they might be a problem sometimes turn out to be nothing at all once they're viewed under a microscope.

It can be scary to learn that you might have this disease, but the most important thing is finding out early on that you have it so that you can fight it. With any luck, your test will determine that you don't have cancer, but if it does, this test will have given you a fighting chance.