Esophageal Cancer: Screening

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 09/2022

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about screening for esophageal cancer. You will also learn the risks and benefits of screening. Use the menu to see other pages.

Screening is used to look for cancer before you have any symptoms or signs. Scientists have developed, and continue to develop, tests that can be used to screen a person for specific types of cancer. The overall goals of cancer screening are to:

  • Lower the number of people who die from the disease, or eliminate deaths from cancer altogether

  • Lower the number of people who develop the disease

Learn more about the basics of cancer screening.

Screening information for esophageal cancer

Regular screening tests to find esophageal cancer in people without symptoms are not used in the United States. People with Barrett's esophagus (see Risk Factors) may be advised to have regular endoscopic examinations. An endoscopic examination is a procedure that uses a flexible, lighted tube to look inside the esophagus. During these examinations, biopsies can be taken to remove a small amount of tissue for examination under a microscope. This type of screening can help find cancer early or find changes that could become cancerous over time. Learn more about these tests in the Diagnosis section.

The next section in this guide is Symptoms and Signs. It explains what changes or medical problems esophageal cancer can cause. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.