Recent developments in the epidemiology, staging, and treatment of esophageal and gastroesophageal junction cancers have led to significant changes in the way these malignancies are managed. Although a relationship between gastroesophageal reflux disease and esophageal cancer has been demonstrated, antireflux surgery has been shown to have no preventive effect with regard to the development of esophageal adenocarcinoma. The newly modified staging system of the World Esophageal Cancer Consortium has helped define the optimal number of lymph nodes to dissect during an esophagectomy. Incorporating modern techniques, such as esophageal ultrasound, fine needle aspiration, and positron emission tomography, can improve the prognostic value of staging. Use of higher-volume centers and higher-volume surgeons for the performance of procedures in upper gastrointestinal cancers is associated with better outcomes. Neoadjuvant chemoradiation using a wide variety of chemotherapy regimens appears to have become the new standard of care for stage II and III esophageal cancer.