Esophageal Cancer Symptoms, Cause and Treatment

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which a group of dead or living cells multiple themselves in an uncontrollable manner while some have the ability to spread to the other organs of the body while some do not and they are known as a benign tumor.

There are around 200 different types of cancers. Some of the common types of are:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
Esophageal cancer

What is Esophageal Cancer?

As April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness month, let us brief you about it.

Esophageal Cancer as suggested by the name it affects the esophagus tube of the body. The Esophagus is the long hollow 8-inch tube that connects the throat to the stomach and it runs in front of the spine and behind windpipe and heart.

It generally effects more men than women and it can occur in any part of the esophagus tube moreover, it generally starts from the inside lining of tube. There are five stages of this cancer (0-5).

It is sixth most common cause of cancer deaths in the whole world.

Esophageal cancer

There are two main types of esophageal cancer and they are Adenocarcinoma, Squamous cell Carcinoma. Some rare types of esophageal cancer are small cell Carcinoma, Sarcoma, Lymphoma, Choriocarcinoma, and Melanoma.

Esophageal cancer

Symptoms of Esophagus cancer

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Dysphagia (Difficulty in swallowing)
  • Hoarseness or coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Frequently choking on food
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Pain in throat
  • Burning in chest
Esophageal cancer

If anyone find themselves with these symptoms, please consult your doctor or you can contact us.

Causes of Esophagus Cancer

Although it is not clear what exact cause for this type of cancer is, here are some risk factors which may increase or shoot the possibility of having this cancer.

  • Having an improper diet
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Habit of drinking very hot liquid
  • Obesity
  • Bile reflux
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
Esophageal cancer

Prevention

  • Quit smoking
  • Quit alcohol
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle

How can one diagnose Esophagus Cancer?

There are two main methods or ways by which we can diagnose this type of cancer and they are:

  • Endoscopy : - This process is also known as Video endoscope, in this process doctor passes a flexible tube equipped with a video lens through the patient's throat into the esophagus and examines the level of disease or infected area.
  • Biopsy:- In this process using a special microscope, the tissues of the infected organs are taken out from the body then that sample tissues are sent to the laboratory to check for the cancer cell.
Esophageal cancer

Treatment for Esophagus Cancer

Treatment a person gets for esophagus cancer is totally dependent on the type of cell, stage of cancer, the age of the infected person and overall health of the infected person. Now let's dive into different types of treatment which are applied to the different patient.

Esophageal cancer

Surgery

Surgery that can be used to treat esophageal cancer includes:

  • Surgery to remove stage 0-1 tumor : - If the cancer is in the early stage, then surgery can be performed using an endoscope to remove the small infected tissues along with some of the surrounded healthy tissues.
  • Surgery to remove stage 2-3 tumor :-In this type of surgery, the cancer cells spread around a particular area of the esophagus, the surgeon removes that part along with some upper part of the stomach and the remaining part of the esophagus connects to the stomach by pulling the stomach close to the esophagus.
  • Surgery to remove stage 4-5 tumor : - In this type of surgery large part of the stomach with esophagus and lymph nodes are removed to clear all the effected area and the stomach is pulled up to join esophagus and if required colon can be used.

Removal of obstruction in the esophagus

If the stage of obstruction is very high, then the doctor may suggest the patient to go for a feeding tube which will provide nutrition straight to the stomach that will help esophagus by giving it time to heal.

If the stage of the obstruction is at the starting level, then the surgeon may advice patient toa procedure in which a metal tube is placed in the esophagus to avoid obstruction and to give nutrition to the stomach with the help of an endoscope.

Esophageal cancer

Chemotherapy

This technique uses medicine to kill the cancer cell.This technique can be used before or after the surgery and side effects of this therapy also depends on the chemical age and disease of the patient.

Radiation

In this therapy, radiations from the machine is pointed to the infected part of the body. This technique is very rare and some side effects of this therapy are they accidental damage the nearby organs, sunburn-like skin and difficulty in swallowing.

Chemotherapy & Radiation therapy (Advanced Technique to tackle Esophageal cancer)

With this technique, both of the therapies are combined together to tackle the disease of the patient and chances of successful treatment of cancer increases. On the other hand, the chance of side effects also increases.

Esophageal cancer

Why take the Second opinion in esophageal cancer?

Second opinion can be a lifesaving decision for you or your loved ones. In some world-class facilities, it is a good option to go for a second opinion just to check whether the doctor is following the right path or not. It also helps you to gain control over your treatment. Some examples of how the second opinion saved lives.

  • 'He could have died': Newborn is hospitalized with a potentially dead infection the first doctor ignored the baby boy's symptoms and told the mother to 'give him Panadol'.
  • Pregnant with Cancer: A second opinion let a woman keep her baby while treating her cancer, despite the first recommended ending her pregnancy.
  • Doctors told her to lose weight: A second opinion found that the problem was actually a 50-pound cyst.

When to take a second opinion:

  • When there is a new diagnosis.
  • When surgery or a complex treatment plans are recommended.
  • When new medications are added to a patient’s treatment.
  • When you need to reconfirm a complex pathological analysis.
Esophageal cancer

How can we help you?

OneSmarterHealth is a leading Cancer Portal that helps you connect with the best Cancer Consultant, which provides Second Opinion & Online Consultation on just a click directly from top US-based Cancer Specialized Doctors & Hospitals.