What is a biopsy to detect esophageal cancer?

All cancer is caused by specific abnormalities in tiny structures called cells that make up the body. Cells are constantly changing and, when needed, they divide to make new versions of themselves. Some changes that occur to cells can cause them to divide more frequently than necessary, leading to a mass of abnormal cells (a tumor). During an esophageal biopsy, a doctor removes numerous cells of the esophagus using a tool guided down the throat of the affected person. The cells can be examined to see if one of these cancer-causing changes has occurred to them.

A biopsy is a diagnostic test that involves collecting small pieces of esophageal tissue, usually through a needle, for examination under a microscope to assess for cancer cells, tissue changes or other conditions.

Continue Learning about Esophageal Cancer

Health Risks of Untreated GERD
Health Risks of Untreated GERD
Heartburn occurs when digestive acid from the stomach backs up into the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach. This cau...
Read More
How is esophageal cancer treated?
The Medical Center of AuroraThe Medical Center of Aurora
People with early to locally advanced stages of esophageal cancer can be treated with chemotherapy, ...
More Answers
What are the most common types of esophageal cancer?
Lyall A. Gorenstein, MDLyall A. Gorenstein, MD
The two most common types of esophageal cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, most often occurring...
More Answers
What Can Happen If GERD Is Untreated?
What Can Happen If GERD Is Untreated?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.