Cancer of the esophagus can be challenging to treat successfully and can have a significant impact on your quality of life.

The disease often requires a multitude of therapies that are best provided by a multidisciplinary team of specialists. At John Theurer Cancer Center, part of Hackensack University Medical Center, we assemble all of the care providers you need to treat your cancer as effectively as possible while addressing your comfort and supporting your recovery.


Robotic Esophageal Cancer Surgery

If your cancer is operable, we try whenever possible to remove it using minimally invasive robotic surgery. Our surgeons are trained to perform the most complex surgeries, such as robotic esophagectomy—a very complicated minimally invasive procedure best left to specially trained surgeons. They are also experts in complex airway cases and surgery for benign esophageal disorders. Compared with traditional open surgery, minimally invasive surgery results in smaller incisions, less pain after surgery, a shorter hospital stay, and a faster return to your normal activities, so you can get back sooner to doing the things you enjoy. Our surgeons are equally adept at performing conventional open surgery for esophageal cancer when a minimally invasive procedure is not an option. If you are a candidate for surgery, your surgeon will let you know which approach is best for you.

Interventional Procedures for Esophageal Cancer

Our interventional endoscopists perform a variety of techniques to diagnose, stage, and treat esophageal cancers through an endoscope (a flexible tube inserted through the mouth into the esophagus, with a camera at its tip). These include:

  • Visualizing the esophagus. Guided by endoscopic ultrasound (EUS, an imaging method that uses high-energy sound waves), the interventional endoscopist inserts the scope through the patient’s mouth and into the esophagus to look for tumors and remove a sample of tumor tissue for biopsy. The results of EUS may also be used to determine if you are eligible for esophageal cancer surgery.
  • Treatment of potential precancers. Barrett’s esophagus is a disorder in which the inner lining of the esophagus becomes abnormal and thickened, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to stomach acids. This disorder increases the risk of esophageal cancer. Our doctors can treat esophageal lesions that may progress to cancer in people with Barrett’s esophagus, using radiofrequency ablation (the application of intense heat) to destroy abnormal tissue or surgically removing superficial lesions (mucosal resection).
  • Palliative treatment. Interventional treatment can relieve discomfort and improve quality of life in patients with inoperable esophageal tumors. The doctor can insert a stent (a meshlike tube) through the endoscope to open up an area of the esophagus blocked by a large tumor, relieving pain and allowing food to pass through. Enabling patients to receive adequate nutrition can also make them strong enough to receive chemotherapy, if that is part of their treatment plan.

Medical Treatments for Esophageal Cancer

Our doctors will study your tumor to look for genetic mutations and learn about the molecular signals involved in your cancer’s growth. We use the results of these tests to match you with targeted therapies, such as trastuzumab or ramucirumab for patients with tumors near the junction of the stomach and esophagus. This “precision medicine” approach ensures that you receive the therapy that is best suited for the biology of your cancer. You can receive infusion therapies in our modern and comfortable infusion center, where oncology nurses monitor you and ensure you are comfortable during your treatment.

Precision Radiation Therapy

If radiation therapy is part of your care, John Theurer Cancer Center provides the most advanced radiation therapy available today, featuring state-of-the-art technologies that finely target radiation to tumors. You can receive radiation that is shaped to the contours of your tumor and delivers high doses of cancer-killing energy while sparing more nearby healthy tissue than ever before.


Our Gastrointestinal Oncology Specialists

Access to Clinical Trials

Clinical trials offer hope to patients with esophageal cancers that have come back despite prior treatment, cannot be removed surgically, are no longer responding to treatment, or have metastasized. John Theurer Cancer Center conducts more clinical trials than any other cancer center in New Jersey. We also have a dedicated Phase I Clinical Trial Program, offering access to new treatments during their earliest stage of evaluation in patients. You may have the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial of a promising new therapy.

Gastrointestinal Cancer Clinical Trials

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The Research Division consolidates the basic and translational research and clinical trials that are conducted at John Theurer Cancer Center and the David Joseph Jurist Research Center for Tomorrows Children.

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Our Cancer Services

Our new state-of-the-art facility at John Theurer Cancer Center was designed with the goal of create an uplifting environment for every one of our patients.

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Gastrointestinal Oncology

The Gastrointestinal Oncology experts work together in a multi-disciplinary approach to customize therapy for every patient.

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John Theurer Cancer Center Locations

Located just seven miles west of New York City in Bergen County, NJ, we are easily accessible via public transportation. Additional locations in the greater New York metropolitan area can be found at Palisades Medical Center and in Franklin Lakes.

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