Esophageal cancer is cancer that occurs in the esophagus (a long, hollow tube that runs from throat to stomach). Esophageal cancer usually begins in the cells that line the inside of the esophagus. Esophageal cancer can occur anywhere along the esophagus. Type of treatment patient receive for Esophageal cancer, depends on the type of cells involved in cancer, cancer's stage, overall health of patient and preferences for treatment.
Symptoms of Esophageal cancer include:
- Swallowing (dysphagia)
- Severe weight loss
- Chest pain
- Worsening indigestion or heartburn
- Coughing or hoarseness
Causes of Esophageal Cancer:
- Regular Smoking
- Regular Drinking alcohol
- Having gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Having a regular habit of drinking very hot liquids
- Having precancerous changes in the cells of the esophagus
- Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
- Being obese
- Having bile reflux
- Having difficulty swallowing because of an esophageal sphincter that won't relax
- Undergoing radiation treatment to the chest or upper abdomen
Surgery of Esophageal Cancer
Surgery to remove the cancer can be used alone or in combination with other treatments. Operations used to treat Esophageal cancer include:
- Surgery to remove very small tumors
- Surgery to remove a portion of the esophagus (esophagectomy)
- Surgery to remove part of your esophagus and the upper portion of your stomach (esophagogastrostomy).
Esophageal cancer surgery carries a risk of serious complications, such as infection, bleeding and leakage from the area where the remaining esophagus is reattached to the stomach.
Treatments for complications
Treatments for Esophageal obstruction and difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) can include:
- Relieving Esophageal obstruction
- Providing nutrition
Chemotherapy is drug treatment that uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy can also be combined with radiation therapy. In people with advanced cancer that has spread beyond the esophagus, chemotherapy may be used alone to help relieve signs and symptoms caused by the cancer.
Radiation therapy uses high-powered X-ray beams to kill cancer cells. Radiation typically will come from a machine outside your body that aims the beams at your cancer (external beam radiation). Radiation therapy is most often combined with chemotherapy in people with Esophageal cancer.
Combined chemotherapy and radiation
Combining chemotherapy and radiation therapy may enhance the effectiveness of each treatment. Combined chemotherapy and radiation may be the only treatment you receive, or combined therapy can be used before surgery. But combining chemotherapy and radiation treatments increases the likelihood and severity of side effects.