Esophageal cancer is a cancer that develops in the lining of the esophagus i.e. the food pipe that runs from your throat to your stomach. It can grow through the wall of the esophagus and can spread to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system(other vessels through which lymph drains from the tissues into the blood). There are two main sub-types of the disease :
Studies have shown a relationship between frequency of reflux symptoms and risk of adenocarcinoma. The constant acid reflux irritates the lining of the esophagus, and complications can occur, such as Barrett's esophagus. Individuals who develop Barrett's esophagus are about 40 times more likely to develop esophageal cancer than individuals in the general population.
At the early stage esophageal cancer displays no signs or symptoms as such. However, if you have consistent signs or symptoms as mentioned above make an early appointment.
If you have been diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus, consult your doctor to watch out for signs and symptoms that can trigger & worsen the condition.
Continuous irritation of the esophagus can increase the chances of cancer. Some of the irritants that cause these risks are:
Treatment of esophageal cancer will depend on the stage the cancer is in at the time of diagnosis, the overall condition of the patient, and whether the cancer has spread to other organs.
If the cancer has not spread to other organs, surgery may be performed to remove the portion of the esophagus. In some cases, the surgery will also involve removing the stomach, spleen, and lymph nodes inside the chest. Then another part of the lower bowel is pulled up and attached to the remaining section of esophagus. Patients may receive chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments after the surgery.
If the cancer has spread to other organs, combined chemotherapy and radiotherapy is the most common treatment. This form of treatment is also used in the cases where the patient can't have surgery.