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Marge Whitman, RN, MS, AOCN

Ellis Fischel Oncology Unit, University of Missouri-Columbia

Esophageal Cancer

Marge Whitman, RN, MS, AOCN


This case is of interest to dietitians, chaplains, social workers, radiation therapists, speech therapists, and respiratory therapists.

Prerequisite Concepts

A medical vocabulary, cachexia, dysphagia, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), loss/depression, nutritional needs, oral care. The user should also be able to classify obese patients and tobacco users.

This case helps the user appreciate the complexity of needs that a tumor in the esophagus creates, and appreciate the need for multidisciplinary team approach.


  • Describe the risk factors for esophageal cancer.
  • Select and use a nutritional assessment tool.
  • Recognize the need for speech therapy and respiratory therapy input with esophageal malignancy.
  • Recognize need for support with anticipatory grief.
  • Recognize needs of caregivers in family units.

Concepts Discussed in the Case

Anticipatory grief, cachexia, esophageal cancer, invasive tumors, malnutrition, metastasis, nutritional support, quality of life, staging of malignant disease, supportive care, and treatment for cancer.

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Last Update: September 11 2012