Home
Search in�� ��for��
 
Resources
Career Center
New Hospital Update
Learn More About MCI
Bill Payment
Upcoming Events
Find a Physician
Press Releases
Maps and Directions
Visiting Hours
Medical Services
Specialty Programs and Services
Volunteer Services
H2U
Birthing Center Tours
Clinics
Family Care of Eastern Jackson County
Jackson County Medical Group
Family & Friends
Virtual Body
Virtual Cheercards
Web Babies
Decision Tools
Self-Assessment Tools
Natural and Alternative Treatments Main Index
Health Sources
Cancer InDepth
Heart Care Center
HealthDay News
Wellness Centers
Aging and Health
Alternative Health
Sports and Fitness
Food and Nutrition
Men's Health
Mental Health
Kids' and Teens' Health
Healthy Pregnancy
Medications
Travel and Health
Women's Health
Genus MD
Genus MD
Physician Websites
Legal Disclaimers
Nondiscrimination
Privacy Notice



Send This Page To A Friend
Print This Page

Esophageal Cancer

Pronounced: Ee-sof-uh-gee-uhl Can-ser

 

Definition    TOP

The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Esophageal cancer (EC) is cancer that starts in this tube.

There are two main types of EC:

  • Squamous cell cancer—from the cells that line the upper part of the esophagus
  • Adenocarcinoma—from the cells where the esophagus meets the stomach

Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

 

Causes    TOP

Cancer is when cells in the body split without control or order. These cells go on to form a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to harmful growths. These growths attack nearby tissues. They also spread to other parts of the body. It is not clear exactly what causes these problems. It’s likely a mix of genes and the environment.

The changes may be caused by irritants such as:

  • Tobacco
  • Alcohol
  • Stomach acid from acid reflux
 

Risk Factors    TOP

EC is more common in men. It's also more common in people aged 50 years and older.

Your chances for EC are also higher for:

 

Symptoms    TOP

Symptoms may not happen until later. When symptoms happen, EC may cause:

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of hunger
  • Heartburn
  • Pain from swallowing
  • Persistent cough
  • Hoarse voice
 

Diagnosis    TOP

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. Your answers and a physical exam may point to EC. You may also have:

The exam and your test results will help find out the stage of cancer you have. Staging guides your treatment plan. EC is staged from 0-4. Stage 0 is a very localized cancer. Stage 4 is a spread to other parts of the body.

 

Treatment    TOP

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options are based on the stage of your EC. You may have one or more of the following:

Surgery

Surgery may be needed. It may be the only treatment, or it may be done in combination with radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Types include:

  • Esophagectomy—removes part or all of the esophagus using a scope or open incision
  • Endoscopic ablation—to remove cancer using a laser

Radiation Therapy

Radiation kills cancer cells and shrink tumors. It does not cure EC. It offers brief relief of symptoms. It may also shrink the tumor. It used with chemotherapy. It may also be done after an esophagectomy.

It may be:

  • External—radiation directed at the esophagus from a source outside the body
  • Internal—radioactive materials are placed into the esophagus in or near the cancer cells

Chemotherapy    TOP

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. It may be given in many forms. It may given by mouth, shots, or IV. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body.

Chemotherapy alone will not cure EC. It is only used when the cancer has spread and can’t be cured. It is used to help shrink the tumor, ease pain, or control nausea.

Photodynamic Therapy    TOP

A mix of drugs and special lights are used to try to kill cancer cells. The cells absorb the medicine. The lights stimulate the medicine to kill the cells.

This therapy may not be useful in some people.

 

Prevention    TOP

To help lower your chances of EC:

  • Don't smoke or use other tobacco products.
  • If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
  • Limit alcohol. This means 2 drinks or less a day for men and 1 drink or less a day for women.
  • Eat a healthful diet. Eat fruits and vegetables, foods that are high in fiber. Limit dairy, processed foods, and red meat.
  • Exercise regularly—Aim for 30 minutes of activity on most days of the week.
  • Get medical treatment for GERD or Barrett esophagus.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.

This type of cancer is often found in later stages. People who have risk factors, especially GERD or Barrett esophagus, should talk to their doctor about screening tests. Screening tests will look for cancer before symptoms appear.

RESOURCES:

American Association of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
https://www.entnet.org

American Cancer Society
https://www.cancer.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Cancer Society
https://www.cancer.ca

Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
https://www.entcanada.org

REFERENCES:

ASGE Technology Committee, Kantsevoy SV, Adler DG, et al. Endoscopic mucolsal resection and endoscopic submucosal dissection. Gastrointest Endosc. 2008;68(1):11-18.

Barrett esophagus. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115861/Barrett-esophagus . Updated April 5, 2018. Accessed July 30, 2018.

Esophageal and esophagogastric junction cancer. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114816/Esophageal-and-esophagogastric-junction-cancer . Updated June 25, 2018. Accessed July 30, 2018.

Esophagus cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at https://www.cancer.org/cancer/esophagus-cancer.html. Accessed July 30, 2018.

Far AE, Aghakhani A, Hamkar R, et al. Frequency of human papillomavirus infection in oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma in Iranian patients. J Infect Dis. 2007;39(1):58-62.

General information about esophageal cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/types/esophageal/patient/esophageal-treatment-pdq. Updated March 28, 2018. Accessed July 30, 2018.

Kato H, Nakajima M. Treatments for esophageal cancer: A review. Gen Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2013;61(6):330-335.

Lightdale CJ. Endoscopic treatments for early esophageal cancer. Gastroenterol Hepatol (NY). 2007;3(12):904-906.

Nakajima M, Kato H. Treatment options for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2013;14(10):1345-1354.

Vignesh S, Hoffe SE, Meredith KL, et al. Endoscopic therapy of neoplasia related to Barrett's esophagus and endoscopic palliation of esophageal cancer. Cancer Control. 2013;20(2):117-129.

6/17/2014 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114816/Esophageal-and-esophagogastric-junction-cancer : Liu X, Wang X, Lin S, Yuan J, Yu IT. Dietary patterns and oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Cancer. 2014;110(11):2785-2795.

1/22/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114816/Esophageal-and-esophagogastric-junction-cancer : Chen Y, Yu C, Li Y. Physical activity and risks of esophageal and gastric cancers: A meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2014;9(2):e88082.



Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 7/30/2018

Health References
Health Conditions
Therapeutic Centers


Copyright � 1999-2007
ehc.com; All rights reserved.
Terms & Conditions of Use
Privacy Statement
Medical Center of Independence
17203 E. 23rd St.
Independence,� MO� 64057
Telephone: (816) 478-5000