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

Expert review and references

  • Esophageal Cancer. Beers, M. H (Ed.). Merck Manual of Medical Information - Second Home Edition. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories; 2007.
  • Oesophageal cancer. Cancer Research UK. CancerHelp UK. Cancer Research UK; 2014.
  • Ko AH, Billingsley KG, Byrd DR, et al . Esophagus. Ko, A. H., Dollinger, M., & Rosenbaum, E. Everyone's Guide to Cancer Therapy: How Cancer is Diagnosed, Treated and Managed Day to Day. 5th ed. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel Publishing; 2008: 5: pp. 588-597.
  • Koehler RPM, Detterbeck, FC & Dean DA . Esophageal Cancer: Anatomy and Staging. Kelsen, D. P., Daly, J. M., Kern, S. E., Levin, B., Tepper, J. E., & Van Cutsem, E. (eds.). Principles and Practice of Gastrointestinal Oncology. 2nd ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2008: 14: pp. 179-202.
  • Posner, MC, Minsky BD, & Ilson DH . Cancer of the esophagus. DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, & Rosenberg SA. Cancer: Principles & Practice of Oncology. 9th ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011: 79: pp. 887-923.