Diagnosis

Tests and procedures used to diagnose esophageal cancer include:

  • Barium swallow study. During this study, you swallow a liquid that includes barium and then undergo X-rays. The barium coats the inside of your esophagus, which then shows any changes to the tissue on the X-ray.
  • Using a scope to examine your esophagus (endoscopy). During endoscopy, your doctor passes a flexible tube equipped with a video lens (video endoscope) down your throat and into your esophagus. Using the endoscope, your doctor examines your esophagus, looking for cancer or areas of irritation.
  • Collecting a sample of tissue for testing (biopsy). Your doctor may use a special scope passed down your throat into your esophagus (endoscope) to collect a sample of suspicious tissue (biopsy). The tissue sample is sent to a laboratory to look for cancer cells.

Determining the extent of the cancer

Once a diagnosis of esophageal cancer is confirmed, your doctor may recommend additional tests to determine whether your cancer has spread to your lymph nodes or to other areas of your body. Tests may include:

  • Bronchoscopy
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS)