Esophageal cancer is the condition of having a cancerous (malignant) tumor in the esophagus, which is an organ high up in the digestive tract that allows food ingested in the mouth to pass through into the stomach.
Esophageal Cancer Causes
Esophageal cancer is relatively uncommon in the United States. Age is one of the biggest causes of this form of cancer as it affects mostly men over 50 years old. There are two main types of esophageal cancer:
Esophageal Cancer Symptoms
The Esophageal cancer symptoms are not easy to recognize because they often have quite a bit in common with other, very common digestive tract issues. Do monitor all your symptoms and if any of them become regular, chronic or severe, perhaps it may be wise to consult a medical professional to help you get proper symptom diagnosis. Common symptoms are
Esophageal Cancer Diagnosis
Common esophageal cancer diagnosis tests are
Esophageal Cancer Treatment
Esophageal cancer treatment differs on the stage and spread of the cancer, as well as the overall condition of the patient. If the cancer has not spread from the esophagus, surgery can remove the tumor. The surgery is called Esophagectomy and modern technology has enabled this seemingly complex surgery to be minimally invasive.
Sometimes doctors prefer to weaken the cancer with chemotherapy and/or radiation instead of surgery if the patient does not want to have surgery. The use of chemotherapy and radiation can also weaken the cancer which would make surgery easier. On the other hand, these treatments can often damage the patient just as much as surgery can.
If the cancer has spread, surgery is usually not enough because it may only remove a local tumor and leave the rest of the cancer in the body. Such cases require palliative therapy consisting of a combination of chemo and radiation. Unfortunately, after the cancer spreads, patient survival is unlikely and the focus shifts to prolonging life, and patient comfort.