The Signs and Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer That You Should Know
Esophageal cancer, as suggests the name, starts in the esophagus of a person. Esophagus is a tube that runs from the end of the tongue, through the throat and all the way till the stomach.
Types Of Esophageal Cancer:-
Esophageal cancers are broadly divided into two types. The growth of the cancer cells in begin in cells in the inner lining of the esophagus. These cancers are diagnosed and treated or controlled in similar fashion.
Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus:
This type is usually found in the lower part of the esophagus, near the stomach, adenocarcinoma is the most common type of esophageal cancer. The number of cases has been increasing since the 1970s.
Squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus:
This cancer is usually found in the upper part of the esophagus. The number of cases of this type of cancer has seen a significant decrease.
The following are said to be the Possible Risk Factors for Rectal Cancer:
Age is considered the main risk factor for esophageal cancer. The chances of developing this cancer go up as a person gets older. In developed countries, most people are 65 years of age or older when they are diagnosed with esophageal cancer.
Men are three times more likely to develop esophageal cancer as compared to women.
People who smoke are more likely to develop esophageal cancer than people who don’t smoke
People who tend to have alcoholic drinks daily are more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus than people who don’t drink.
People who consume a diet that lacks fruits and vegetables on a daily basis are more likely to have esophageal cancer. However, more research is needed to understand the relation of esophageal cancer with diet.
Being obese increases the risk of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.
Acid reflux is the unusual flow of stomach acid into the esophagus. The stomach acid may harm the tissue of the esophagus, leading to adenocarcinoma of the esophagus in some people.
Acid reflux may damage the esophagus and over time cause a condition known as Barrett esophagus. The presence of Barrett esophagus increases the risk of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.
All these risk factors do not necessarily mean that the person will develop cancer of the esophagus. In fact, most people showing these risk factors never develop esophageal cancer in their lives.
Symptoms Of Esophageal Cancer
Early esophageal cancer may not cause symptoms. As the cancer grows, the most common symptoms are:
- 1. Food gets stuck in the esophagus, and food may come back up
- 2. Pain when swallowing
- 3. Pain in the chest or back
- 4. Weight loss
- 5. Heartburn
- 6. A hoarse voice or cough that doesn’t go away within 2 weeks
Spread the awareness about these signs and symptoms so that you might help someone who might be diagnosed with this cancer.Esophagus is a long hollow tube running from the end of your tongue to the stomach through your throat. It’s the part of the body that is responsible for helping food you swallow to reach your stomach. When cancer occurs in this tube it is called as esophageal cancer.
Diagnosis Of Esophageal Cancer
If you show symptom that indicate the possibility of esophageal cancer, a visit to a doctor will help you a lot. He will examine the signs tell you the exact reason for those signs and if at all you have this cancer.
Some methods used for the diagnosis are:
After you drink a barium solution, you have x-rays taken of your esophagus and stomach. The barium solution makes your esophagus show up more clearly on the x-rays. This test is also called an upper GI series.
The doctor uses a thin, lighted tube (endoscope) to look down your esophagus. The doctor first numbs your throat with an anesthetic spray, and you may also receive medicine to help you relax. The tube is passed through your mouth or nose to the esophagus. The doctor may also call this procedure upper endoscopy, EGD, or esophagoscopy.
Usually, cancer begins in the inner layer of the esophagus. The doctor uses an endoscope to remove tissue from the esophagus. A pathologist checks the tissue under a microscope for cancer cells. A biopsy is the only sure way to know if cancer cells are present.
Esophageal Cancer Treatment
People with esophageal cancer have several treatment options.
The options are surgery, radiation therapy chemotherapy or a combination of these treatments.
For example, radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be given before or after surgery. The treatment that’s right for you depends mainly on the following:
Esophageal cancer can be treated with several types of surgery depending on the location of the cancer. Usually, the section of the esophagus with the cancer, lymph nodes, and part of the stomach is removed.
During surgery, the surgeon may place a feeding tube into your small intestine. This tube helps you get enough nutrition while you heal is called feeding Jejunostomy. The time it takes to heal after surgery is different for everyone and depends on the type of surgery. You may be in the hospital for at least one week.
Doctors use two types of radiation therapy to treat esophageal cancer. Some people receive both types
External radiation therapy: The radiation comes from a large machine outside the body. The machine aims radiation at your cancer.. Treatments are usually 5 days a week for several weeks. New advanced technologies like image guided radiotherapy (IGRT) are now available which delivers radiation to the target tumor sparing normal surrounding organs.
Internal radiation therapy Brachytherapy: The doctor numbs your throat with an anesthetic spray and puts a tube into your esophagus so that it can be used to give radiation
Most people with esophageal cancer get chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. The drugs for esophageal cancer are usually given through a vein (intravenous).
Chemotherapy is usually given in cycles. Each cycle has a treatment period followed by a rest period.
Cancer takes a lot of lives in a year. More than any other disease. It’s important that we spread awareness about these cancers about these cancers so that the we could help decrease the number of deaths that it causes and make this world a better place.