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Research Article

Imaging of esophageal cancer


Esophageal cancer is a relatively uncommon gastrointestinal malignancy but carries a poor prognosis unless it is of early stage and can be surgically resected for cure. Resectability is determined by the stage of disease at diagnosis and therefore accurate staging is of importance in patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Imaging studies that play a role in the evaluation of esophageal cancer include barium studies, computed tomography, endoscopic ultrasound and positron emission tomography. Imaging provides important information regarding the local extent and any distant spread of disease, which in turn helps in determining optimal management for these patients. This review discusses the imaging findings that may be encountered with various imaging modalities in the diagnosis, staging and follow-up of esophageal cancer.