Esophageal cancer

Also known as: Cancer, esophageal
Esophageal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the esophagus.

The two most common forms of esophageal cancer are named for the type of cells that become malignant:
  • Squamous cell carcinoma: cancer that forms in squamous cells, the thin, flat cells lining the esophagus. This cancer is most often found in the upper and middle part of the esophagus, but can occur anywhere along the esophagus. This is also called epidermoid carcinoma.
  • Adenocarcinoma: cancer that begins in glandular (secretory) cells. Glandular cells in the lining of the esophagus produce and release fluids such as mucus. Adenocarcinomas usually form in the lower part of the esophagus, near the stomach.
Providence Gastrointestinal Cancer Program at Providence Cancer Center has a team of health care professionals and researchers striving to provide and promote expert care for people who have cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. We focus our attention and resources on people with cancers of the upper gastrointestinal tract (esophagus and stomach), middle tract (pancreas, liver, gall bladder, bile ducts and small intestine) and lower tract (colon, rectum and anus).