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Kaifi warned me it would take a better part of a year to get back to percent, whatever my new percent would be. The biggest change for Hymers was changing his diet. For the first four weeks after surgery, he relied on a food pump to give him the nutrition he needed while his new esophagus healed.

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After that, he began to eat small meals — about three or four bites at a time — eight times a day as he gradually increased the amount of food. And he hopes sharing his story will bring awareness to the likely cause of his condition. Some have symptoms once you ask them, but they never really saw a doctor or complained about it. Kaifi recommends talking with your doctor if you suffer from chronic heartburn.

Two years later, Hymers is thankful for his personalized treatment and the chance to spend many more anniversaries with his wife. They have a new hobby — pickleball — and they regularly play the sport together. All rights reserved. We also screen for known mutations for which targeted therapies may be applied.

Division of Thoracic & Esophageal Surgery Provides Advanced Medical Diagnosis and Treatment

Patients have special nutritional needs during treatment for esophageal cancer. Many people find it hard to eat because they have trouble swallowing due to a narrowing of the esophagus, caused by a tumor or a side effect of treatment. You will work closely with a nutritionist who will help you with these challenges. To address all of your physical and emotional needs, we provide a comprehensive range of support services and complementary and integrative therapies. We offer individual and family counseling, rehabilitation and physical therapy, pain and symptom management, acupuncture, massage, Reiki and support groups.

If you would like a second opinion or to have our team consult on your care plan If you have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer by another doctor, and would like a second opinion or to talk with us about your care plan, please contact us.

We regularly consult with patients at all stages of esophageal cancer. We perform surgery on patients with esophageal cancer from around the world, who then return to their local hospitals for further treatment. If you cannot travel to Boston in person, you can take advantage of our Online Second Opinion service. Barrett's esophagus is a condition caused by acid or bile reflux that increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer.

Treatment for Barrett's esophagus has changed dramatically in the past three years.

Why Choose UPMC for Thoracic Surgery?

Previously, all patients would have had significant surgery — the removal of the majority of the esophagus. Today, we can also offer a much less aggressive treatment approach. If you are diagnosed with an early form of Barrett's esophagus, you'll be closely monitored and your reflux will be controlled with medication and lifestyle changes.

Introduction to Esophageal Surgery Part 1

If you have a high-grade form of Barrett's esophagus, meaning there are signs of dysplasia cell abnormalities that indicate a progression toward cancer , we offer an outpatient therapy called radiofrequency ablation to remove abnormal tissue and allow normal tissue to grow back, in combination with an endoscopic resection surgery. Treating Barrett's Esophagus Barrett's esophagus is a pre-malignant condition that can lead to esophageal cancer.

Specialists, such as Dr.

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Early stage diagnosis of esophageal cancer is rare. However, if you are diagnosed with stage 0 or I esophageal cancer, you will likely have surgery. Most people are diagnosed in stage II or III, and treatment is usually radiation and chemotherapy followed by surgery. We commonly perform surgery as part of the treatment for patients with most stages of esophageal cancer.


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Surgical oncologists use the most advanced technology available to complete surgery with exacting precision. Our skilled surgeons regularly perform leading-edge, minimally-invasive surgeries whenever possible. Surgery to treat esophageal cancer is particularly challenging, and we have dedicated thoracic surgeons who specialize in these kinds of surgeries. Usually, surgery involves removing the section of the esophagus with the cancer, as well as a small amount of tissue around the cancer, and nearby lymph nodes.

How We Treat Esophageal Cancer

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