Types of Cancer We Treat
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You’ve come to the right place for specialized cancer care at Riverside – expert care that is close to your home in southeastern Virginia. We are at the forefront of fighting cancer – and have been for decades as one of the first health organizations to add patient navigators to the cancer team. We know getting well takes cancer diagnosis and treatment expertise, but also extensive support through every phase of treatment and recovery to survivorship.

Cancer care at Riverside Health System brings together an entire team of cancer specialists, meeting and working together through case conferences, also called tumor boards. Our patients benefit from the expertise and experience of many cancer experts, including:

  • Medical oncologist
  • Surgical oncologist
  • Radiation oncologist
  • Interventional radiologist
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Pathologist
  • Medical physicist
  • Dosimetrist
  • Medical oncology nurse
  • Radiation oncology nurse
  • Radiation therapist
  • Patient navigator
  • Social worker
  • Dietitian
  • IT oncology specialist

Esophageal cancer diagnostic and treatment options

Esophageal cancer can occur at any point in your esophagus – a long tube that connects your throat to your stomach. Generally, cancerous cell growth begins in the lining of the esophagus, so you may experience issues with swallowing, indigestion, coughing, abnormal voice changes or unexplained weight loss. It is critical to talk with a specially trained gastroenterologist to identify the cause of your concerns if you have any issues with these persistent symptoms.

For diagnosis, our GI team may order a barium swallow study, conduct an endoscopic exam or take a tissue biopsy for analysis. If cancer cells are present, a series of imaging studies will determine the extent of your cancer, including:

  • Computed tomography (CT/CAT scan)
  • Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS
  • Positron emission tomography (PET)
  • Upper gastrointestinal series/barium swallow

At Riverside, your entire cancer team will work together to determine the best treatment plan for your needs. Your team may use a combination of therapies to treat your cancer. With extensive clinical expertise in interventional and EUS techniques, our specialized GI physicians can biopsy and treat cancer instead of more extensive esophageal surgery. If you have any difficulty swallowing or symptoms such as worsening heartburn, see a gastroenterologist so your issues can be resolved early when minimally invasive procedures are possible.

In collaboration with the thoracic surgery team, surgery may be required to remove a cancerous tumor. It may also be necessary to reduce the size of the tumor prior to surgery, so you may meet with a medical oncologist. Our team will provide the optimal solution for your specific needs based on your stage of cancer, preferences and overall health.

Understand what causes esophageal cancer

Some factors, such as a family history of cancer, are not within your control, but many factors that increase your risk of esophageal cancer can be controlled. Your Riverside team can help you understand how your risk of cancer increases due to lifestyle choices – and we’ll help you learn how to reduce your risk through education and changes in your daily life. The following factors increase your risk of cancer of the esophagus:

  • Chronic acid reflux or heartburn
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Smoking

If you are at elevated risk for gastrointestinal cancers, including esophageal cancer, talk to your primary care provider about screenings or to reduce your chance of GI cancers. If you do not have a primary care provider, please call 757-534-5352 or w with one of our Riverside team members or reach out to one of our gastroenterology specialists.