Endoscopic approaches for early-stage esophageal cancer: current options.
Early esophageal cancer is confined to the mucosa or submucosa of the esophagus. While most esophageal cancer is detected at an advanced stage (requiring surgical resection, chemotherapy, and radiation), early-stage mucosal lesions may be detected through Barrett's surveillance programs or incidentally on diagnostic upper endoscopies performed for other reasons. These early-stage cancers are often amenable to endoscopic therapies, including mucosal resection, ablation, and cryotherapy. Studies suggest equivalent survival rates and reduced morbidity but higher recurrence rates with endoscopic removal of early-stage cancers compared to surgical resection. There is emerging data regarding the efficacy and long-term outcomes of endoscopic therapy for early esophageal cancer that is promising, and further research is needed to better define the role of endoscopic therapy in the management of early esophageal cancer.
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