The esophagus is the long, hollow tube that runs from the throat to the stomach. It is responsible for carrying swallowed food to your stomach for digestion. Esophageal cancer usually begins in the cells that line the esophagus and can occur in any part of the organ. Esophageal ultrasound allows the physician to properly diagnose the cancer and stage it for treatment.
One of the most common symptoms of esophageal cancer is trouble swallowing. This may be mild at first and gradually worsen over time. Chest pain and weight loss may also be indications of this type of cancer. Hoarseness, constant cough, and bleeding in the esophagus are all issues that need to be checked by a physician.
If your physician suspects esophageal cancer, he or she will recommend diagnostic tests to determine if cancer is present and if so, at what stage the disease is in. Endoscopic ultrasound is a endoscopic procedure in which an endoscope and ultrasound are used to obtain images of the internal organs in the chest and abdomen, including the esophagus.
During this procedure, the endoscope is inserted into the mouth and guided toward the areas of concern. Using ultrasound, various areas are imaged to determine if there are any abnormalities. The physician uses a process called fine needle aspiration to biopsy cells. The pathologist will evaluate these samples to determine whether or not cancer is present.
Once esophageal cancer is diagnosed, it must be staged before a treatment plan can be designed. The esophageal ultrasound enables the physician to determine the size of the cancer and how far it has spread to other organs and tissues. This procedure will alert the physician to any enlarged lymph nodes or other areas of concern.
FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital offers the region’s only esophageal ultrasound procedure for diagnosing and staging esophageal cancer. We provide esophageal cancer treatment and therapy to patients living in the Pinehurst, Sanford, Raeford, Laurinburg, Lumberton, Troy, and Rockingham regions of NC.