Staging Esophageal Cancer

The stage of your disease will determine the type of treatment you receive. A determination of stage is done through a biopsy sample of tissue from the esophagus, lymph nodes and/or endoscopic imaging.

Stage 0 (Carcinoma in situ)
In this stage, cancer is confined to the first layer of cells in the esophagus. These abnormal cells may become cancer and spread into nearby normal tissue.

Stage I
In this stage, the cancer has spread into the next layer of tissue in the esophagus.

Stage II
Cancer in this stage of disease may be divided into stage IIA or stage IIB, depending upon where it has spread.

  • Stage IIA: In this stage, the cancer has spread into the muscle of the esophagus or into the outer wall of the esophagus.
  • Stage IIB: In stage IIB, the cancer has spread to any of the three layers of the esophagus and to adjacent lymph nodes.

Stage III
Cancer in this stage has spread to the outer wall of the esophagus and may have spread to tissues and lymph nodes near the esophagus.

Stage IV
In this stage, the cancer has spread to other organs and distant lymph nodes in the body.