Esophageal cancer

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If esophageal cancer spreads

Cancer cells can spread from the esophagus to other parts of the body. This spread is called metastasis.

Understanding how a type of cancer usually grows and spreads helps your healthcare team plan your treatment and future care.

If esophageal cancer spreads, it can spread to the following:

  • lymph nodes around the esophagus
  • lymph nodes in the neck or upper chest
  • lymph nodes in the lower chest or around the stomach
  • lymph nodes in the abdomen
  • windpipe (trachea)
  • vocal cords
  • main artery leading from the heart (aorta)
  • pericardium
  • stomach
  • liver
  • adrenal glands
  • lung
  • bone
  • brain

pericardium

The double-layered sac that surrounds the heart. It protects the heart and produces a fluid that acts like a lubricant so the heart can move normally in the chest.

adrenal gland

A small gland on top of each kidney that produces a variety of hormones involved in different body functions, including metabolism (the chemical processes needed for cell function, growth and reproduction), heart rate, blood pressure and controlling blood sugar levels.

Stories

I want everyone to win their battles like we did. That’s why I’ve left a gift in my will to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Read Margaret's story

Making progress in the cancer fight

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The 5-year cancer survival rate has increased from 25% in the 1940s to 60% today.

Learn more