Ask an ordinary person about cancer they may immediately think about lung or breast cancer. Very few people will think about esophageal cancer (esophagus cancer). But this condition ranked as the tenth deadliest cancer in the US, as it was responsible for ending 66,659 lives from 2003 to 2007. Worldwide, it’s ranked as the 6th most common cause of cancer deaths.
The esophagus is a long and hollow tube that goes from your throat down to your stomach. Its functions include moving the food you swallow to reach your stomach for digestion.
When esophageal cancer develops, it begins in the cells lining the inside of the esophagus. The formerly healthy cells grow out of control and they form a mass called a tumor. If the tumor is cancerous, it can then grow and spread to other parts of the body. The cancer starts more specifically in the inner layer of the esophageal wall, and it can spread through the wall and into the lymph nodes. It can also spread to other parts of the body, including the stomach, liver, and lungs.
There are 2 major types of esophageal cancer. However, treatment for both is similar though they will depend on several other factors.
If it is squamous cell carcinoma, the esophageal cancer starts in the squamous cells that line the esophagus. It usually grows in the upper and middle part of the esophagus.
If it is adenocarcinoma, it starts in the glandular tissue in the lower part of the esophagus. This is where the esophagus and the stomach come together.
In the early stages of esophageal cancer, it’s common that there are no signs or symptoms. However, in the later stages the following symptoms are typical:
If any of these symptoms persist, then it’s recommended that you see an ENT doctor.
There are several factors that may increase the risk of esophageal cancer:
As ENT problem is quite different from case to case, it is suggested to consult an ENT Specialist for the appropriate ENT services.
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