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The esophagus is a hollow tube that carries food and liquids from your throat to your stomach. Early esophageal cancer usually does not cause symptoms. Later, you may have symptoms such as

  • Painful or difficult swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • A hoarse voice or cough that doesn't go away

You're at greater risk for getting esophageal cancer if you smoke, drink heavily, or have acid reflux. Your risk also goes up as you age

Your doctor uses imaging tests and a biopsy to diagnose esophageal cancer. Treatments include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. You might also need nutritional support, since the cancer or treatment may make it hard to swallow.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer

The following features are indicative of Esophageal Cancer:
  • difficulty swallowing
  • weight loss without trying
  • chest pain, pressure or burning
  • worsening indigestion or heartburn
  • coughing or hoarseness

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Common Causes of Esophageal Cancer

The following are the most common causes of Esophageal Cancer:
  • DNA mutations

Risk Factors for Esophageal Cancer

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Esophageal Cancer:
  • drinking alcohol
  • having bile reflux
  • having difficulty swallowing because of an esophageal sphincter that won't relax
  • drinking very hot liquids
  • eating few fruits and vegetables
  • having gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • being obese
  • having precancerous changes in the cells of the esophagus
  • undergoing radiation treatment to the chest or upper abdomen
  • smoking

Prevention of Esophageal Cancer

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Esophageal Cancer. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • quit smoking
  • drink alcohol in moderation
  • eat more fruits and vegetables
  • maintain a healthy bodyweight

Occurrence of Esophageal Cancer

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Esophageal Cancer cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Not common between 50K - 500K cases

Common Age Group

Esophageal Cancer most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged > 50 years

Common Gender

Esophageal Cancer can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Esophageal Cancer

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Esophageal Cancer:
  • Endoscopy: To examine esophagus, looking for cancer or areas of irritation
  • Biopsy: To examine a sample of suspicious tissue in microscopic view

Doctor for Diagnosis of Esophageal Cancer

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Esophageal Cancer:
  • Gastroenterologist
  • Oncologist

Complications of Esophageal Cancer if untreated

Yes, Esophageal Cancer causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Esophageal Cancer is left untreated:
  • obstruction of the esophagus
  • pain
  • bleeding in the esophagus

Procedures for Treatment of Esophageal Cancer

The following procedures are used to treat Esophageal Cancer:
  • Surgery: To remove the cancer
  • Esophagectomy: To eliminate the portion of the esophagus that contains the tumor
  • Esophagogastrectomy: To remove part of the esophagus and the upper portion of the stomach that contains the tumor
  • Chemotherapy: To destroy the cancer cells
  • Radiation therapy: To kill cancer cells

Self-care for Esophageal Cancer

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Esophageal Cancer:
  • Avoid smoking: Helps in lowering the risk of esophageal cancer
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Helps in preventing esophageal cancer

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Esophageal Cancer

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Esophageal Cancer:
  • Acupuncture Therapy: Helps in coping with the disease
  • Do massage and relaxation techniques: Helps in lowering the pain

Patient Support for Treatment of Esophageal Cancer

The following actions may help Esophageal Cancer patients:
  • Stay connected to friends and family: Provides support network for you during the cancer treatment
  • Find out enough about esophageal cancer to make decisions about the care: Helps in learning more about the treatment options
  • Join a support group: Share the feelings with people who are facing the same challenges as you are, helps in coping with the disease

Time for Treatment of Esophageal Cancer

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Esophageal Cancer to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Esophageal Cancer.

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