Esophageal Cancer

When you come to Winship Cancer Institute for esophageal cancer treatment, you have a multidisciplinary team of experts dedicated to your well-being.

Winship Cancer Institute offers a comprehensive team of multidisciplinary specialists who treat esophageal cancer.

They include gastroenterologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists. They offer state-of-the-art evaluation and treatment within the confines of a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.

The benefits of our multidisciplinary and highly experienced teams include:

  • Access to doctors and surgeons who rank among the top cancer experts in the world.
  • Diagnostic specialists in endoscopic ultrasound.
  • Thoracic surgeons specializing in minimally invasive treatments.
  • Expertise in esophageal stenting.
  • Weekly review of patient cases by the full team of experts.
  • Coordinated scheduling for appointments among various specialties.
  • Access to a nurse navigator to assist you throughout the treatment process.
  • Access to support programs and groups for you and your caregivers.
  • Availability of new treatment options through clinical trials in radiation and systemic therapy.

Diagnosis of esophageal cancer takes into consideration many factors including risk associated with a patient’s lifestyle and pre-existing conditions.

Smoking and alcohol consumption are major risk factors for squamous cell carcinoma, a subtype of esophageal cancer that begins in the cell lining. Esophageal adenocarcinoma begins in the cells that make mucus and other fluids. The incidence has dramatically increased in recent years, especially among young men.

The following tests may be used during diagnosis:

Barium swallow: a patient drinks a liquid that contains barium. The substance coats the esophagus and x-rays are taken

Esophagoscopy: a thin, lighted scope is inserted through the mouth or nose and down the throat into the esophagus to look for abnormal areas

Biopsy: a biopsy is usually done during an esophagoscopy

The stage of your disease indicates how much it has spread through the layers of the wall of your esophagus and whether it has spread to other organs and lymph nodes. Early stage cancer is disease limited to the esophageal wall and the adjacent lymph nodes. Late stage cancer indicates spread to other organs like liver, lung or bone. Determining the stage of your cancer will affect your treatment plan. Your Winship care team may use one or more tests and procedures to determine the stage of your cancer including a blood test, biopsy, colonoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound and imaging tests.

Endoscopic ultrasound is a procedure that determines the stage of esophageal cancer in a patient. This method uses a high frequency ultrasound transducer to provide detailed images of esophageal mass and its relationship with the five-layered structure of the esophageal wall.

For reliable, in-depth information about cancer symptoms, staging and diagnosis, visit CancerQuest, an educational and outreach program at Emory University. 

Visit CancerQuest

One or more of the following types of treatment may be used:

Surgery: Surgery is used for patients with early stage disease. Surgery options range from minimally invasive procedures such as endoscopic resection or laparoscopic esophageal resection to more traditional open surgical resections. Surgery may be performed after radiation and chemotherapy in selected cases. The management of early stage esophageal cancer requires the collaboration of a specialized multidisciplinary team that includes surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and radiologists.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy drugs kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used in combination with surgery or radiation to maximize the treatment. In addition to standard chemotherapy, participating in a clinical trial may be an option in certain cases. Clinical trials provide patients access to new medications that are being developed to treat esophageal cancer.

Radiation: cutting edge therapies such as radiofrequency ablation, Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) and esophageal brachytherapy may be used as treatment for esophageal cancer. Learn more about radiation therapy treatments and services.

Targeted therapies: Winship’s most promising research in treating esophageal cancer is in personalized medicine and targeted therapies. In personalized medicine, researchers identify unique characteristics of tumors that make them vulnerable to known drugs so therapy can be tailored to an individual’s cancer. In targeted therapies, investigators look for new drugs that more selectively target cancer cells with fewer side effects.

In addition to delivering the highest quality medical care, we recognize the importance of the psychological and emotional aspects of living with a cancer diagnosis and of dealing with treatment. Our supportive oncology team addresses these issues in a timely manner with additional support from counselorsnurse navigatorsdietitians and social service professionals.

 Consider talking with your doctor about participating in a clinical trial at Winship. Through these trials, you may have access to treatments that are not widely available.

Learn More About Clinical Trials

If you have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, we are ready to help you. Call us at 1 (888) 946-7447 or (404) 778-1900 to make an appointment or request an appointment online. Winship experts are available to provide a second opinion.

We understand that this is a very stressful time. We welcome your questions and requests for help. Learn what to expect on your first visit.

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Olatunji B. Alese MD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Olatunji B.  Alese MD
Olatunji B. Alese MD

Olatunji B. Alese MD

Wendy Baer MD

  • Oncology Psychiatrist
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                                 Wendy Baer MD
Wendy Baer MD

Wendy Baer MD

  • Dr. Baer helps patients and their families deal with the stress of receiving a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
  • Medical Director of Psychiatric Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Tiffany Brosius RN, BSN, OCN

  • Nurse Navigator
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                                 Tiffany Brosius RN, BSN, OCN
Tiffany Brosius RN, BSN, OCN

Tiffany Brosius RN, BSN, OCN

Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS
Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS

Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS

  • Dr. Cardona is a board certified surgeon and surgical oncologist who specializes in the management of complex gastrointestinal malignancies (such as stomach, pancreas, and liver cancers) and is an expert in the treatment of sarcomas.
  • Co-Chair Gastrointestinal Oncology Working Group, Emory University Hospital Midtown
  • (404) 686-3203

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Supportive Oncologist
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                                 Kimberly A. Curseen MD
Kimberly A. Curseen MD

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Board certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care, Dr. Curseen is the primary provider for the Supportive Oncology Clinic at Winship.
  • Director of Supportive and Palliative Care Outpatient Services , Emory Healthcare
  • (404) 778-6448

Bassel El-Rayes MD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Bassel El-Rayes MD
Bassel El-Rayes MD

Bassel El-Rayes MD

  • Dr. El-Rayes is head of the clinical trials program at the Winship. He also serves as Director of the Winship Gastrointestinal Oncology Program.
  • Associate Director for Clinical Research, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Sharon Etris MS, FNP-C, AOCNP

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Sharon  Etris MS, FNP-C, AOCNP
Sharon Etris MS, FNP-C, AOCNP

Sharon Etris MS, FNP-C, AOCNP

Seth D. Force MD

  • Cardiothoracic Surgeon
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                                 Seth D. Force MD
Seth D. Force MD

Seth D. Force MD

  • Dr. Force has a national reputation as an outstanding thoracic surgeon whose research focuses on outcomes in lung transplantation and thoracic diseases.
  • Surgical Director, Thoracic Oncology Program, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Martha Giardina BSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Martha  Giardina BSW
Martha Giardina BSW

Martha Giardina BSW

Joan Giblin NP

  • Survivorship Program
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                                 Joan  Giblin NP
Joan Giblin NP

Joan Giblin NP

  • An experienced nurse practitioner specialist with extensive patient care involvement, Ms. Giblin facilitates continued good health and quality of life for cancer survivors.
  • Survivorship Program Director, Winship Cancer Institute
  • (404) 778-1900

Ulrike Gorgens MSN, NP

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Ulrike Gorgens MSN, NP
Ulrike Gorgens MSN, NP

Ulrike Gorgens MSN, NP

Valerie Henderson MSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Valerie Henderson MSW
Valerie Henderson MSW

Valerie Henderson MSW

Michael M. Johns III MD

  • Otolaryngologist
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                                 Michael M. Johns III MD
Michael M. Johns III MD

Michael M. Johns III MD

Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

  • Nurse Navigator
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                                 Bonnie  Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN
Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

  • Ms. Josaphs is the Senior Manager of the Winship Nurse Navigator Program and she works with the gastrointestinal cancer team assisting patients treated for colorectal, liver and pancreatic cancer.
  • Sr. Manager Nurse Navigator Program, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Steven Keilin MD

  • Gastroenterologist
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                                 Steven  Keilin MD
Steven Keilin MD

Steven Keilin MD

  • An attending gastroenterologist with expertise in advanced endoscopy, Dr. Keilin works with Winship's gastrointestinal teams to deliver top cancer care.
  • Associate Director, Advanced Endoscopy Fellowship Program, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA
Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA

Jerome C. Landry MD, MBA

  • Dr. Landry specializes in the treatment of gastrointestinal tumors and soft tissue sarcomas.
  • Chief of Service, Edward Loughlin Oncology Center, Grady Memorial Hospital
  • (404) 778-3473

Colleen Lewis NP

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Colleen Lewis NP
Colleen Lewis NP

Colleen Lewis NP

Kamal A. Mansour MD, MBBCH

  • Cardiac Surgeon
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                                 Kamal A. Mansour MD, MBBCH
Kamal A. Mansour MD, MBBCH

Kamal A. Mansour MD, MBBCH

Taofeek Owonikoko MD, PhD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Taofeek Owonikoko MD, PhD
Taofeek Owonikoko MD, PhD

Taofeek Owonikoko MD, PhD

  • Dr. Owonikoko's clinical specialties include lung cancer, thyroid cancer and other cancers of the aerodigestive tract.
  • Associate Professor, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Sandra Parker NP-C

  • Team Member
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                                 Sandra Parker NP-C
Sandra Parker NP-C

Sandra Parker NP-C

  • Ms. Parker is an advanced registered nurse practitioner in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital.
  • Nurse Practitioner, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital
  • (678) 843-7004

Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

  • Social Worker
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                                 Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

  • At Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, Ms. Perlmutter works with patients of all cancer types providing resource referrals and counseling services.
  • Social Worker, Outpatient Oncology, Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital
  • (678) 843-7826

Allan Pickens MD

  • Cardiothoracic Surgeon
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                                 Allan Pickens MD
Allan Pickens MD

Allan Pickens MD

  • A leading thoracic surgeon, Dr. Pickens specializes in lung cancer, lung transplantation, esophageal cancer and minimally invasive thoracic surgery.
  • Director of Thoracic Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Meredith Renfroe CCRP

  • Clinical Research Coordinator
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                                 Meredith Renfroe CCRP
Meredith Renfroe CCRP

Meredith Renfroe CCRP

  • Clinical Research Coordinator IV, Gastrointestinal Oncology Team Lead, Clinical Trials Office, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-2670

Carol Rivera ACBSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Carol Rivera ACBSW
Carol Rivera ACBSW

Carol Rivera ACBSW

Maria C. Russell MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Maria C. Russell MD
Maria C. Russell MD

Maria C. Russell MD

  • Dr. Russell's treats melanoma and metastatic melanoma, tumors of the liver, biliary tract, pancreas, spleen and gallbladder, metastatic tumors to the liver, tumors of the gastrointestinal tract, and neuroendocrine tumors.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 686-3203

Nabil F. Saba MD, FACP

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Nabil F. Saba MD, FACP
Nabil F. Saba MD, FACP

Nabil F. Saba MD, FACP

Manu S. Sancheti MD

  • Cardiothoracic Surgeon
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                                 Manu S. Sancheti MD
Manu S. Sancheti MD

Manu S. Sancheti MD

  • Located at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, Dr. Sancheti specializes in thoracic oncology, minimally invasive thoracic surgery, esophageal surgery, and lung transplantation.
  • Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-7200

Walid L. Shaib MD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Walid L. Shaib MD
Walid L. Shaib MD

Walid L. Shaib MD

Vinita Singh MD

  • Pain Management Specialist
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                                 Vinita Singh MD
Vinita Singh MD

Vinita Singh MD

  • Dr. Singh collaborates with oncologists to provide state-of-the-art therapies to cancer patients suffering from pain symptoms.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 686-2410

Charles A. Staley MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Charles A. Staley MD
Charles A. Staley MD

Charles A. Staley MD

  • Dr. Staley leads the surgical oncology team and as Chief Quality Officer works collaboratively with leadership on tracking and improving patient services and satisfaction as well as focusing on cancer outcomes at Winship.
  • Chief Quality Officer, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-0210

Stephen M. Szabo MD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Stephen M. Szabo MD
Stephen M. Szabo MD

Stephen M. Szabo MD

  • Dr. Szabo practices general medical oncology and specializes in the treatment of breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, and benign hematology at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital.
  • Director of Community Oncology, Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital
  • (404) 778-1900

Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD
Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD

Jeffrey M. Vainshtein MD

  • Dr. Vainshtein treats patients with head and neck cancer, gastrointestinal malignancies, thoracic malignancies and sarcomas at both Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital and Emory University Hospital.
  • Instructor, Clinical Track, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3473

Field F. Willingham MD, MPH

  • Gastroenterologist
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                                 Field F. Willingham MD, MPH
Field F. Willingham MD, MPH

Field F. Willingham MD, MPH

  • Dr. Willingham is a leading expert in interventional and therapeutic endoscopy, seeing patients for specialized procedures from the United States and abroad.
  • Director of Endoscopy, Division of Digestive Disease, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Joshua H. Winer MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Joshua H. Winer MD
Joshua H. Winer MD

Joshua H. Winer MD

  • Dr. Winer's specialties include HIPEC, laparoscopic and robotic pancreas, liver, and gastric resections, and minimally invasive colon surgery.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-8377

Kathryn Wrammert MSN, ANP-BC, WHNP-BC, AOCNP

  • NP Specialist
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                                 Kathryn Wrammert MSN, ANP-BC, WHNP-BC, AOCNP
Kathryn Wrammert MSN, ANP-BC, WHNP-BC, AOCNP

Kathryn Wrammert MSN, ANP-BC, WHNP-BC, AOCNP

  • Ms. Wrammert helps patients manage their treatment related side effects as well as symptoms from their disease.
  • Nurse Practitioner Specialist, Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900