• Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer

    Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Care

    At the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer, our mission is to improve the outcome for patients with esophageal and stomach cancer by advancing national standards of care, using the best therapies available, minimizing complications through collaboration in multi-disciplinary clinics, and developing innovative therapies for the future.

    About the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer

    Adam Bass, MD, Scott Swanson, MD, and Peter Enzinger, MD Specialists in the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer include (from left to right): Adam Bass, MD; Scott Swanson, MD; and Peter Enzinger, MD. 

    The Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer brings together specialists from Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC) who are improving the way these cancers are diagnosed and treated. Our team of medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists, gastroenterologists, radiologists, and pathologists has decades of experience in caring for patients with esophageal cancer and gastric (stomach) cancer, as well as Barrett's esophagus.

    Learn about how we diagnose and treat esophageal cancer and Barrett's esophagus.

    Learn about how we diagnose and treat gastric (stomach) cancer.

    As a highly specialized center, we focus on the distinct needs of people with these particular diseases. This enables us to provide a very personalized approach to care for our patients.

     

    We've treated thousands of people with these conditions, and this vast experience has given us an unparalleled level of expertise. Patients come to our center from around the world for surgery, second opinions, and an optimal plan to beat their cancer.

    Experience affects outcomes. Studies show that people with esophageal and stomach cancer have better outcomes at high-volume centers like ours whose specialists have treated large numbers of patients. Our own research also shows enormous benefits from having dedicated thoracic surgeons and a thoracic ICU, which translates to better outcomes for patients with esophageal cancer.

    Innovation and research

    Our innovative approach is reflected in our distinctive collaborative, multi-disciplinary model of care that involves physicians, nurses, and researchers. Specialists from gastroenterology, pathology, radiology, surgical oncology, thoracic surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, and other specialties meet regularly to review all feasible approaches to treatment, and to ensure that patients receive the best combination of treatments.

     

    Our approach is also reflected in innovative treatments and diagnostics that spring from our team's position at the forefront of cancer research. We are one of the world's leading groups researching, publishing, and implementing new approaches to diagnostics and novel therapies for esophageal and stomach cancer.

    DF/BWCC specialists are actively involved in research and apply the latest findings to patient care. We offer our patients opportunities to take part in clinical trials investigating new, targeted therapies. These clinical trials are a significant part of our treatment approach, and many of our patients choose to participate. We also screen for known mutations for which targeted therapies may be applied.

    Compassionate care and support

    We have an aggressive approach to treatment and a compassionate approach to care. Our team is committed to finding the very best way to help patients and their families cope with the physical and emotional effects of cancer and its treatment.

    Patients have access to a range of services, including nutrition counseling, rehabilitation, and physical therapy. We also understand that cancer affects more than the body. We offer support programs and resources that help patients and families, including complementary therapies such as massage and acupuncture.

    Our expertise makes us a resource

    At the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer, physician-scientists are working to improve the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of esophageal and stomach cancer. We actively collaborate with colleagues at other hospitals on the best ways to take care of patients.

    • Our center functions as a place for translational scientists from around the world to convene to define the best ways to diagnose, treat, and follow up with patients.
    • We hold annual educational forums with oncologists from the community to update them on the treatment of esophageal and stomach cancer.
    • We provide second opinions and give guidance to other doctors throughout the world.
     

    Meet Our Esophageal and Gastric Cancer Specialists

     

    Our director, medical oncologist Peter C. Enzinger, MD, is part of a group developing the research agenda for the United States in esophageal and gastric cancer. He has researched and developed many of the drugs and regimens considered standard today for the treatment of esophageal and gastric cancer.

    Medical oncologist Charles Fuchs, MD, MPH, is part of a group forming new national guidelines for the treatment of esophageal and stomach cancer. He recently led a trial that proved the success of anti-angiogenesis therapy in gastric cancer — a study that will lead to approval of the first targeted agent specifically approved for gastric cancer. He is also the Director of the DF/BWCC Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center, and runs a laboratory focused on biochemical markers of gastrointestinal cancer risk and the discovery of novel targets for cancer therapy.

    Radiation oncologist Harvey Mamon, MD, PhD, spearheads research activities focused on optimizing the combination of radiation with systemic therapies, including conventional chemotherapy and newer targeted agents. He also works to identify biomarkers as prognostic or predictive factors for the response to treatment.

    Thoracic surgeon Scott Swanson, MD, is one of the world's leading thoracic surgical specialists. Many of the procedures he performs, including some of the most complex techniques, use minimally invasive, image-guided approaches.

    Surgical oncologist Michael Zinner, MD, is Surgeon-in-Chief at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. Zinner is a member of the editorial boards of several distinguished journals. He is the editor for Maingot's Abdominal Operations, a two-volume textbook on gastrointestinal surgery. He serves as a Governor of the American College of Surgeons and is a member of its Executive Committee.

    Our Chief of Gastrointestinal Pathology, Robert Odze, MD, FACP, is the editor of the textbook that's used by most pathology departments throughout the world for diagnosing esophageal cancer. He has also authored numerous important publications, improving the understanding of how these cancers develop and evolve.

    See an entire list of our Gastrointestinal Cancer Specialists.

     

    Symptom Management, Support Programs, and Follow-up Care

     

    Symptom management

    Nutritional guidance and speech therapy

    Many of our patients work with nutrition counselors from the very beginning of their treatment to help with eating difficulties, diet modification, and creating a customized eating plan. Our nutritionists are registered dietitians, skilled at handling your nutrition needs. They help you manage common side effects of this disease, such as loss of appetite and weight loss, and answer your questions about the latest findings on cancer nutrition.

    Because of the nature and treatment of this disease, some people develop difficulty swallowing, and our speech pathologists (experts in evaluating and treating patients who have difficulty swallowing or protecting their airway) can help provide treatment strategies for this problem.

    Managing fatigue and depression

    It's not uncommon to find yourself more tired or experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety while going through cancer treatment. Sometimes this is the result of cancer treatment or coping with new physical changes. Our Adult Psychosocial Oncology Program can help you and your loved ones maintain the best quality of life during and after treatment.

    Pain management and care

    Our center offers pain management and palliative care to our patients. Palliative care is often misunderstood. Many associate it with end-of-life care or “giving up” — especially with a serious health diagnosis like cancer. However, palliative care is best explained as an extra layer of support that helps reduce the symptoms, pain, or stress often associated with illnesses. Early on, it can help make medical treatments more tolerable. At later stages, it can reduce suffering, help you carry on with daily life, assist you in planning for future medical care, and provide support for living with a life-threatening illness.

    Complementary and integrative therapies

    Many of our patients with esophageal or stomach cancer benefit from consulting with experts at the Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies. Services provided range from acupuncture and massage to Reiki and music therapy. Our patients treated at the Zakim Center credit its services with easing nausea, improving circulation, and reducing pain, stress, and anxiety associated with cancer treatment.

    Exercise classes and consults

    Our team encourages you to remain active during your treatment. Studies show exercise can help both during and after cancer treatment, strengthening the body, improving mood, and reducing fatigue. Our exercise physiologist can design a safe, effective program tailored to your particular situation and needs.

    Support programs and follow-up care

    We understand that an esophageal or stomach cancer diagnosis can be challenging both physically and emotionally. When you become a patient at the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer, our medical, nursing, and support teams make sure you and your loved ones have access to our extensive array of support programs and services before, during, and after your treatment. You have full access to the many resources available at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center (DF/BWCC).

    Because we are a specialized center, many of our patients appreciate the chance to connect with other people with esophageal cancer. We also hold educational sessions for patients to learn about the disease and how to care for themselves.

    Below are some of our selected programs and services for patients with esophageal or stomach cancer.

    • You may wish to join a specialized support group for patients with gastrointestinal cancer.
    • Our licensed social workers are here to help you and your loved ones face the many new concerns following a cancer diagnosis. We offer emotional support and assistance, and we help you find the best care professionals. Find out more about these and other services provided by our Adult Social Work Program.
    • Our Ethics Consultation Service is available for patients and families who may be facing difficult decisions and choices regarding care. Our goal is to bring together patients, families, and health care providers to talk about ethical concerns and help everyone involved arrive at a resolution that is right for all.
    • Friends' Place provides personal consultations to help cancer patients of all ages cope with changes in physical appearance that result from cancer treatment.
    • Your family or caregiver may want to use our resources for caregivers to find practical tips and suggestions, including creating a caregiving plan, finding community resources, and looking after their own well-being. They may also want to take advantage of Patient and Family Resource Centers, which are staffed by health care professionals and provide computer stations, books, brochures, videos, and CDs to help you find information about cancer treatment and care.

    For a full list of our support services, you can download the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center Supportive Resources brochure. 

    Survivorship care and follow-up testing

    We believe that all patients in the Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer should receive expert post-treatment care, just as they do when they receive our outstanding cancer care — in a comprehensive, personalized way. We create a personalized care plan for each patient, with clear steps for monitoring and maintaining your health after your treatment ends.

    We follow our patients very closely, and you'll likely come back for follow-up appointments every three months. These decrease in frequency as time goes on. Some of our patients participate in the Adult Survivorship Program, a member of the LIVESTRONG Survivorship Center of Excellence Network. This program is committed to finding solutions for living well after cancer and providing compassionate, quality medical care after treatment.

    Find additional information, resources, and support for living well beyond cancer.

    Contact Us

    To learn more, or to request an appointment, call us at 877-442-3324 (877-442-DFCI) or 617-632-3476, or complete the online form.

    Mailing address

    Center for Esophageal and Gastric Cancer
    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    450 Brookline Avenue
    Boston, MA 02215

     
  • Email
  • Print
  • Share
  • Text
Highlight Glossary Terms
  • Make an Appointment

    • For adults:
      877-442-3324 (877-442-DFCI)
    • For children:
      888-733-4662 (888-PEDI-ONC)
    • Or complete the online form.
  • Gastrointestinal Cancer Treatment Center

    • Learn more about Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center's treatment and support for patients with gastrointestinal cancers.
  • Find a Clinical Trial

    • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center offers clinical trials that provide eligible patients with innovative treatment option. Find a clinical trial for:
      esophageal cancer
      stomach cancer
  • A Patient's Story

    • Ed GardellaIn this video, Ed shares his experience with esophageal cancer.