The Esophageal cancer occurs in the esophagus, a hollow long pipe from throat to stomach which is responsible for moving food from the throat to the stomach.
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As the cancerous tumor grows, it can affect the deep muscle as well as tissues of the esophagus. A tumor can occur anywhere on the esophagus, including where it meets the stomach. Esophageal cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths all over the world.
What are the Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer?
At the early stages of this cancer, it might be possible that you won’t experience any symptoms. As cancer progresses, you may start feeling the following experience:
- Unwanted weight loss
- Difficulty or pain while swallowing
- Frequent choking during eating
- Food coming back up to the throat
- Chronic cough
What are the Types of Esophageal Cancer?
It can be classified according to the type of cell that is involved. These types will help your doctor to determine your treatment options. Types of this disease include:
It starts in the cells of mucus-secreting glands inside the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma occurs usually in the bottom of the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma is the most common form of cancer worldwide.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
The squamous cells are thin and flat cells which lies on the surface of the esophagus. It usually occurs in the upper as well as middle portions of the esophagus. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most usual cancer worldwide.
Other Rare Types
There are rare forms of esophageal cancer which include small cell carcinoma, sarcoma, lymphoma, melanoma, and choriocarcinoma.
Who are at the Risk of Esophagus Cancer?
Factor that increases the risk of esophagus cancer include:
- Having gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Having precancerous changes
- Being obese
- Drinking alcohol
- Bile reflux
- Having difficulty swallowing due to the esophageal sphincter
- Having a steady habit of drinking too hot liquids
- Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
- Undergoing radiation treatment to the chest or upper abdomen
What are the Preventions of Esophageal Cancer?
You can take steps to reduce your risk of esophageal cancer. For instance:
Quit smoking. If you smoke, then ask for help from your doctor about strategies for quitting. Counseling and medications are available to help you quit smoking.
Drink alcohol in moderation. In general, moderation means ingesting no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
Eat more fruits and vegetables. Add a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits to your diet.
Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, try to lose some weight.
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What is the Treatment for Esophageal Cancer?
There is a variety of treatment which depends upon your stage of cancer.
If the cancer is small and hasn’t spread all around, then surgery can be the option, the doctor can remove the tumor by invasive surgery with an endoscope and several small incisions.
The risks of surgery can include bleeding, pain, leaking in the area where the rebuilt esophagus is attached to the stomach, problems swallowing, lung complications, infection, nausea and heartburn.
In chemotherapy, the drugs are used to attack cancer cells. It can be used before or after surgery. It sometimes accompanies the use of radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy has many possible side effects which depend on the drugs your doctor uses. These side effects can be:
- Radiation therapy
Esophageal cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer death all over the world. The symptoms of this disease are not visible at an early stage. As cancer progresses, the symptoms can be visible. If you find any of the symptoms then don’t ignore and consult the doctor as soon as possible.
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