Categories
types of cancer

Esophageal cancer

Overview

Esophageal cancer is cancer that occurs in the esophagus — a long, hollow tube that runs from your throat to your stomach. Your esophagus helps move the food you swallow from the back of your throat to your stomach to be digested. Esophageal cancer usually begins in the cells that line the inside of the esophagus.

Symptoms

  • Difficulty and pain with swallowing, particularly when eating meat, bread, or raw vegetables. …
  • Pressure or burning in the chest.
  • Indigestion or heartburn.
  • Vomiting.
  • Frequent choking on food.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Coughing or hoarseness.
  • Pain behind the breastbone or in the throat.
  • Causes

    Factors that cause irritation in the cells of your esophagus and increase your risk of esophageal cancer include:

  • Having gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Smoking.
  • Having precancerous changes in the cells of the esophagus (Barrett’s esophagus)
  • Being obese.
  • Drinking alcohol.
  • Having bile reflux.
  • Diagnosis

    In addition to a physical examination, the following tests may be used to diagnose esophageal cancer:

  • Barium swallow, also called an esophagram. …
  • Upper endoscopy, also called esophagus-gastric-duodenoscopy, or EGD. …
  • Endoscopic ultrasound. …
  • Bronchoscopy. …
  • Biopsy. …
  • Molecular testing of the tumor.
  • Treatment

    For people who are healthy enough, treatment for these cancers is most often chemoradiation followed by surgery. Patients with adenocarcinoma at the place where the stomach and esophagus meet (the gastroesophageal junction) are sometimes treated with chemo (without radiation) followed by surgery.Jun 24, 2

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