Esophageal Cancer Diagnosis

At Allegheny Health Network Cancer Institute, we are committed to getting you a quick, accurate diagnosis. Once we have a precise diagnosis and stage of the cancer, our team of experts reviews your case.

Our highly skilled physicians, surgeons, and medical oncologists work to determine the most effective treatment plan and review it with you. We also offer robust support services to treat the whole person.

Expert esophageal cancer diagnosis at AHN

At the Cancer Institute, our expert team works quickly to get a diagnosis. You can expect the diagnosis process to be:

  • Minimally invasive: Most of our diagnostic tests use new technology that does not require an incision and will keep you as comfortable as possible.
  • Expert: Our team specializes in esophageal cancer, so you receive the most accurate diagnosis. We have a high level of expertise in ruling out other, similar conditions and can detect even difficult-to-diagnose cancers.
  • Convenient: You can typically complete all of your tests during one visit. We provide a quick turnaround time for results, to reduce your wait time.

Diagnostic procedures for esophageal cancer

First, your physician discusses your symptoms and conducts a physical exam. Then, we use tests to diagnose cancer and determine its stage (how severe it is and if it has spread).

Our advanced diagnostic tests include:

  • Sedated traditional endoscopy: This procedure uses a flexible tube with a light and camera to visually inspect your esophagus. We pass the camera into the digestive tract through your mouth while you are sedated.
  • Biopsy: During an endoscopy, your physician collects cells from the suspicious area. A specially trained doctor, called a pathologist, examines the cells to determine if they are cancerous. 
  • Endoscopic mucosal resection: The physician inserts a flexible ultrasound tube into your esophagus, through your mouth. The ultrasound provides images that help the doctor understand how large the tumor is and if it has grown into any surrounding tissue.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scans: The technician takes multiple X-rays of your body. A computer combines the images to form one 3-D picture that shows any abnormalities or tumors. 
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scans: We inject a small, safe amount of a radioactive sugar substance into your arm before the test. The sugary substance collects in cancerous areas, so we can clearly see the areas with cancer. 
  • Molecular staging of tumors: We use this procedure to identify the unique molecular makeup of a specific tumor in order to select targeted, effective treatment options.

Esophageal cancer treatment

Within three days of receiving a diagnosis, you meet with a team of experts that specializes in esophageal cancer. They review your case to create a personalized treatment plan. Our treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, medical oncology, and clinical trials. Find out more about our approach to esophageal cancer treatment.

Contact us

Call the AHN Cancer Help Line anytime at (412) NURSE-4-U (412) 687-7348 to schedule a cancer-related appointment or to just talk with our nurses about diagnoses, treatments, and side effects.