Carcinoma Esophagus is the cancer of esophageal tube. Esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth through the throat to the stomach, and is also known as the food pipe. It carries food down the throat to the stomach.
Esophageal cancer starts developing from cells present in the inner lining of the tube. The disease is more common among men as compared to women.
Out of many factors which may cause esophageal cancer, smoking and acid refluxes are the most harmful. Early treatment can stop the disease from spreading further and bring it under control.
Causes of Carcinoma Esophagus
The exact underlying cause of esophageal cancer is not clear. The disease develops when the cells of the esophagus tube corrupts their own DNA. The corrupted cells then grow and multiply rapidly without control, and start accumulating forming a tumor. The structure may grow and hamper other body parts also. The following are some factors that are associated with the disease:
- Alcohol consumption and smoking
- Bile refluxes and gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Precancerous cell changes (Barrett’s esophagus)
- Radiation therapy for treatment of chest
Risks related to Carcinoma Esophagus
Some risks of carcinoma esophagus are:
- Tracheo-esophageal fistulas
- Weight loss
Following are some measures that could be followed to prevent carcinoma esophagus:
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating fruit and vegetable rich diet
- Quit smoking
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Control Gatroesophageal reflux diseases (GERD)
How is carcinoma esophagus diagnosed?
Carcinoma esophagus can only be done with the help of a tube, which when inserted beams of light for an easy view. Your doctor might recommend either endoscopy or biopsy for examining the esophageal tissue.
Symptoms of Carcinoma Esophagus
Early stages of cancer typically have no symptoms. However, following are the most common symptoms that are visible in the later stages:
- Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia)
- Weight loss
- Chest pain and discomfort along with burning sensation
How is carcinoma esophagus treated?
Esophageal cancer runs through 4 stages, and treatment for every patient are based on their stage of advancement.
Surgery - The first step for stage 1, 2 and 3 is surgery. The doctor carefully removes the tumors along with affected lymph nodes. However, in some cases, if the cancer has spread further, a part of the esophagus may have to be removed. Pulling the stomach up, then restores the connectivity of the tube to the stomach.
Radiation Therapy - Once the patient has recovered fully after the surgery, Chemotherapy or radiotherapy can be recommended. The goal of these treatments is to kill any kind of remaining cancerous cell. Though the side-effects of these therapies are painful, the treatment is essential to avoid re-growth of cancer.