Treatment for gastroesophageal (GE) junction cancer usually involves surgery along with neoadjuvant therapy of radiation or chemotherapy. GE junction adenocarcinoma is a type of esophageal cancer that occurs in the GE junction, which is located between in the lower part of the esophagus that connects to the stomach.
Cancer of the GE junction is diagnosed and treated similarly to the other esophageal cancers. There are nearly 20,000 cases of esophageal cancer each year in the United States. GE junction cancer is rare but is also one of the few cancer types that is increasing in the number of cases each year. The increase in esophageal cancer cases can be attributed to an increase in chronic irritation of the esophagus from conditions such as Barret’s esophagus and as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
What is GE Junction Cancer?
GE junction cancer refers to cancer of the lower part of the esophagus, which connects to the stomach. Glandular cells produce and release fluids like mucus and are located in the esophagus. Cancer that begins in glandular cells are called adenocarcinomas. Therefore, cancer of the GE junction is referred to as gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma.
The most common risk factors for GE junction cancer are esophageal problems that cause chronic irritation such as GERD and Barret’s esophagus. Other risk factors include:
- Poor diet
GE Junction Cancer Treatments
GE junction cancer treatment depends on the stage and location of the cancer. If the cancer is still localized, and not spread to the surrounding tissue, then surgery, an esophagectomy is the preferred method of treatment. Most patients in stage 1 or 2 and some stage 3 patients are eligible for this procedure, which involves the removal of the tumor, a small portion of the esophagus and stomach, and any nearby lymph nodes. After removal, the stomach is then reconnected to the esophagus. Other standard therapies are common for patients that are ineligible for surgery.
Other treatments that are used for GE junction cancer include:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted Therapy
- Clinical trials
Chemotherapy or radiation are often given to patients prior to surgery to shrink the tumor before the procedure. Sometimes, a combination of the treatments will be used so the procedure is not as invasive. Surgery is the only curative treatment option available and other therapies are intended to halt the disease’s progression and limit symptoms associated with the disease. For advanced staged patients, clinical trials may be an option to receive the latest treatments in cancer research. Talk with your doctor to see if clinical trials offer treatment that may benefit your case.