Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center offers leading edge surgical procedure

BANGOR — Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center is recognizing April as Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month. An estimated 18,440 people living in the United States were diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2020. While not a common form of cancer, it is very important to detect and treat early. 

The esophagus is a muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach. Esophageal cancer forms in the tissue lining of the esophagus. 

There are two types of esophageal cancer with the most common causes for the condition being:

• Tobacco use
• Heavy alcohol use
• Barrett esophagus
• Older age

Signs and symptoms:

• Painful or difficult swallowing
• Weight loss
• Pain behind the breastbone
• Hoarseness and cough
• Indigestion and heartburn
• A lump under the skin

While a difficult form of cancer to treat effectively, area residents are fortunate that Eastern Maine Medical Center has a surgeon that specializes in esophagectomies, a procedure to remove a diseased esophagus. M. Jawad Latif, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon, is the only physician in the State of Maine offering minimally invasive esophagectomy using the latest surgical robot. In 2020, the Eastern Maine Medical Center’s robotic thoracic surgery program was the busiest in Northern New England, and second busiest overall north of New York City.

“Virtually all patients who need an esophagectomy are candidates for the minimally invasive procedure and being able to provide this service in Bangor allows local patients to receive care closer to home, which is a very positive factor,” says Dr. Latif. “In addition to the surgical procedure offered at the Medical Center, Northern Light Cancer Care offers complementary treatment options conveniently located in Brewer.”

To learn more about treatment options for esophageal cancers, contact Northern Light Cardiothoracic Surgery at 207-973-5293 or visit