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Stomach and esophageal cancer care


Allina Health offers comprehensive, expert care aimed at preventing, detecting and treating cancers of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This includes cancer of the stomach and esophagus. Your health care team will include experienced and compassionate providers who will work closely with you and each other through every step of your cancer care. 

Upper GI cancers often develop slowly and may go undetected for many years, as changes often happen first in the inner lining of your stomach and esophagus. Cancer can develop in other places within the stomach and esophagus with different symptoms. Symptoms may include: 

  • anemia
  • bloody or tarry stools
  • chronic diarrhea or constipation 
  • discomfort in your upper abdomen 
  • feeling full or bloated after a small meal 
  • indigestion and heartburn 
  • loss of appetite 
  • nausea and vomiting 
  • unintended weight loss 
  • difficulty swallowing 

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Stomach and esophageal cancer care at Allina Health

At Allina Health, we are committed to providing the highest quality care for you as a whole person—not only treating your cancer but addressing your overall physical and mental well-being. We have an entire team of cancer care specialists who will work closely with you, which includes a dedicated nurse navigator, who will help coordinate your care and be your primary point of contact from diagnosis through treatment and recovery. 

To help you stay fully informed, we will connect you with tools to manage your care, including the Allina Health account, which allows you to track your appointments, review your test results, communicate with your healthcare team and more. 

Diagnosis of stomach and esophageal cancer

In the diagnosis of stomach and esophageal cancer, imaging tests may be used to determine the location and extent of the cancer. These tests may include:  

If your doctor suspects you may have stomach or esophageal cancer, you may have one or more of the following tests: 

  • blood work 
  • barium swallow – X-ray exam where a barium drink (a chalky liquid) is swallowed to help view the stomach more clearly on the X-ray 
  • biopsy – removal by needle or incision of a small amount of the tissue to examine under a microscope 
  • bronchoscopy – insertion of a flexible, lighted tube (bronchoscope) through the nose or mouth to look at your trachea (windpipe) and bronchial tubes 
  • endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) – insertion of a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a camera on the end (endoscope) and ultrasound probe through the mouth to examine the stomach. A biopsy may be done during this procedure. 
  • laryngoscopy – an exam of your throat and larynx (voice box) 
    • indirect – use of a light and mirror to look into the throat area 
    • direct – insertion a small, thin tube (scope) into nose or throat to view area and possibly remove small growths or take tissue samples  

Stomach and esophageal cancer treatment

Your cancer care team will work closely with you to develop your cancer treatment plan. The plan is unique to your type of cancer, the stage of the cancer, the risk of the cancer coming back and your general health.  Your plan could include any of these cancer treatment options: 

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Source: Allina Health
Reviewed by: Melissa Walls

First published: 5/28/2019
Last reviewed: 5/28/2019