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Why should you receive treatment for
esophageal cancer in AMC?

The Korea Central Cancer Registry has reported in 2013 that 218,017 cases of cancer occurred in 2011 and esophageal cancer accounted for 0.9% with 2,245 cases. In this regard, esophageal cancer is a relatively rare cancer and not included in top ten most common cancers. However, the incidence of esophageal cancer has gradually risen from 1,769 in 2000 to 2,245 in 2011, and it is probably due to an increase in the number of esophageal cancers detected following the introduction of endoscopy and the qualitative improvement of examinations.

Esophageal cancer is not easy to cure compared to other cancers. Not only it is hard to be detected early, but also it advances quickly. It needs very specialized examinations to determine its stage or exact state and requires highly-advanced approaches such as endoscopic esophagectomy, surgical esophagectomy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy in combination or solely depending on patient’s situations.

Long-term survival rates of esophageal cancer, which indicate successful treatment, has also steadily improved as new therapies have been introduced recently. However, the rates are lower compared to survival rates of gastrointestinal cancers like stomach cancer and colorectal cancer.

AMC Esophageal Cancer Center has a collaboration system effectively run by experienced specialists who are leading in various fields of advanced medical skills and expertise. Collaboration system is a close cooperation system in which specialists of relevant departments regularly holds a meeting where they discuss test results and treatment plans, and then share it with patients who attend the meeting. The esophageal cancer team will continue to try to lead this field by consistently maintaining good performance while suggesting new treatments for esophageal cancer to relevant fields.

Treatment options

Esophageal cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, and the optional approach is determined based on the cancer stage and patient conditions. Since 1993, AMC has performed surgery for one-stage cancers. For two- and three-stage cancers, combined treatment of conducting chemotherapy or radiotherapy first and doing a surgery after are being used.

  • Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses anti-cancer drugs to reduce or eradicate cancer cells. Treatment of esophageal cancer patients is determined based on preoperative or postoperative cancer stage, histological finding, and patient conditions. Anticancer drugs are administered either orally or intravenously to be absorbed in the body to work. The drugs affect not only cancer cells, but also other normal cells, causing adverse effects. However, repeated use of anticancer drugs may eradicate cancer cells.

  • Radiotherapy

    Radiotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells. Radiation also damages normal tissues around the tumor, so there is a limit for radiation dose.

  • Surgery (Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery, Stomach Surgery, and Otolaryngology)

    Surgery is a primary treatment for esophageal cancer. Surgical removal is recommended when cancer without remote metastasis is removable by surgery, and the cancer patient has good general conditions. Surgical removal of the esophageal cancer is divided into three phases: first, resection of the esophagus; second, removing lymph nodes around the esophagus and stomach; and third, reconstructing the esophagus. In other words, the esophagus with carcinoma will be removed first, and then reconstruction of the esophagus will be held to allow eating by mouth. Usually, the reconstruction of the esophagus is made using the stomach, but if the stomach is not available, colon, small intestine, etc. are used for reconstruction. Through the increase of usage in gastroesophageal endoscopy, very initial stage cancer in the mucous membrane of a patient is found. Endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD), which uses endoscopy to remove the lesion in the mucous membrane without surgical intervention, is being also held.

AMC’s treatment performance

AMC formed an esophageal cancer team participated by specialists of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery, oncology, radiation oncology, gastroenterology, and radiology in 1994 and had provided integrated treatment services at the Esophageal Cancer Center in AMC Cancer Institute since 2006. As of 2014, 323 esophageal cancers were registered, and 106 surgical esophagectomies and 49 endoscopic esophagectomies were performed in AMC. AMC has published a series of articles in international journals and reported the results and findings of clinical research comparable to that of prestigious cancer centers.