The esophagus is the tube food travels down after you finish chewing and swallowing it. Esophageal cancer involves a tumor growing somewhere in that tube, which increasingly blocks food from traveling down easily.
Whether caused by years of smoking, acid reflux or some other cause, Nebraska Medicine offers the latest in techniques and world-renowned thoracic surgeons to treat and often heal you of esophageal cancer.
Really intense acid reflux causing heart burn can be an early sign of esophageal cancer. Often however, many people don't realize anything is wrong until they begin struggling to swallow food as the tumor keeps growing, crowding out space for food to normally go through the esophagus.
How We Treat Esophageal Cancer
At Nebraska Medicine we have a large team of experts who use the latest minimally invasive techniques in treating esophageal, and other kinds of chest (thoracic) cancers. Your case will be reviewed by a doctor who specializes in the digestive system — called a gastroenterologist — for initial diagnosis and figuring out how big the cancerous tumors are and if they have spread. If surgery is a possibility, you'll meet a thoracic surgeon, along with other cancer specialists.
The team will collectively guide you as to the right treatment mix of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy for your situation.
If Caught Early, We Can Nearly Always Cure It
With chest-related cancers, if they're caught early enough our treatments are highly successful. That's often when the cancer is just developing, and the worst symptoms are just heartburn or acid reflux. Unfortunately however, often people don't really know they have cancer due to it not affecting their ability to swallow until it's in a later stage, which speaks to the value of screenings.
We're a High-volume Center
Because Nebraska Medicine is an academic medical center thanks to its partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, we see and therefore know how to treat the rarest types of esophageal cancer cases
Rudy Lackner, MD, and Karin Trujillo MD, are the only two thoracic surgeons in the state who focus exclusively on treating the esophagus and lungs. If you have a chest cancer, wouldn't you want the person operating on you to specialize in that exact area of the body?
We Use the Latest Minimally Invasive Surgical Methods
While surgery is always a taxing experience, we can now remove tumors using an approach that will leave you with only a small hole in your chest, which greatly improves recovery time.
Targeted, Rare Therapies
We're on the forefront of using your own genetics to provide therapies targeted to you personally. In addition, we also provide unique options like photodynamic therapies (PDT) for fighting cancer as well. With this method, a photosensitizer and a particular type of light are used to kill cancer.
The Best Cancer Care in the World, Close to Home
Cancer often involves multiple trips to the doctor or clinics to have treatments such as chemotherapy. Patients come form all over the globe to receive care here from our world-renowned oncologists. If there are complications, being near the specialists also saves you the hassle of trying to make sure your care is coordinated with a local hospital in your area.
Brand New Cancer Center
While we have four locations where we treat cancer patients, in the event you have appointments at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, you'll receive treatment in a state-of-the-art building that opened in June of 2017, with all the latest equipment available. Patients also have access to our healing arts facilities.
We offer the only location in the Omaha area where you can get medical attention specific to cancer needs at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, which serves as both a treatment center and around-the-clock urgent-care-type facility.