Home > Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal Cancer in New Jersey

The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center has two convenient locations in Lawrenceville and Princeton, New Jersey where you can receive the exceptional care you deserve. Angela Merlo, M.D. is an experienced Gastroenterologist providing patients suspected of esophageal cancer with the most accurate diagnosis and comprehensive treatment plans for every individual situation.

What is Esophageal Cancer?

The esophagus is the narrow tube that connects mouth to stomach. The vast majority of cases of esophageal cancer are classified as either squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma depending on their cell type. These two types of esophageal cancer have different risk factors, different growth patterns, and different treatments so accurate diagnosis is crucial.

Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer in early stages usually causes no symptoms so the cancer may grow undetected. Symptoms occur as the cancer grows and affects the functioning of the esophagus or spreads to other areas of the body. Symptoms are similar to those of other disorders so the diagnosis may be missed unless the right tests are performed in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, over half of patients affected with esophageal cancer present with advanced disease.  Patients with esophageal cancer may experience:

  • Pain or burning in the chest
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Coughing or choking spells while eating
  • Fatigue
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Increased frequency or severity of heartburn or indigestion

Causes of Esophageal Cancer

The exact causes of esophageal cancers are not known but there are both genetic and environmental factors.

  • Risk factors for the development of squamous cell esophageal cancer include tobacco, alcohol consumption and nitrosamines
  • Risk factors for the development of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus include obesity and Barrett’s metaplasia from chronic acid reflux. Regular screenings with upper endoscopy can reduce your chances of developing esophageal cancer if you have Barrett’s metaplasia.

Do I Have Esophageal Cancer?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with esophageal cancer, you should contact the Digestive Health & Nutrition Center for an appointment with Dr. Merlo. Remember, early detection provides the best chance for cure. Dr. Merlo specializes in Gastroenterology and is uniquely positioned to recognize the signs and symptoms of esophageal cancer. An upper endoscopy with biopsies is the most commonly performed procedure in the evaluation of patients with symptoms suggesting esophageal cancer. Dr. Merlo will recommend the most appropriate tests, provide the most accurate diagnosis and develop the most comprehensive treatment plan for your particular situation.

If you are seeking an expert Gastroenterologist for screening, diagnosis or treating esophageal cancer, contact the Digestive Health & Nutrition Center in Lawrenceville and Princeton, New Jersey today for an appointment with Dr. Merlo.