Doctor's Notes on Esophageal Cancer (Cancer of the Esophagus)
Esophageal cancer is a disease where the tissues of the esophagus (the tube-like structure that connects the throat to the stomach) start to grow abnormally and become malignant. There are two major types of esophageal cancers: squamous cell carcinoma, which arises from the surface (epithelial) cells that line the esophagus, and adenocarcinoma arises from the esophageal glands or within a segment of Barrett's esophagus. Although tumors can develop anywhere in the esophagus, adenocarcinomas appears more frequently in the lower portion while squamous cell carcinoma develops more frequently in the upper portion of the esophagus.Symptoms of esophageal cancer may not occur until the disease is at an advanced stage and may include difficulty swallowing, weight loss, central chest pain and/or pain behind the breastbone, pain upon swallowing, vomiting, chronic cough, hoarseness, and symptoms of gastrointestinal bleeding such as black stools or vomiting blood or material that looks like coffee grounds.
Must Read Articles:
Cancer: What You Need to KnowCancer is a common and deadly disease, and it's surrounded by myths. There are certain basics a patient needs to know when they're confronted with a cancer diagnosis; everything from clinical facts and practices to learning how to navigate the health insurance bureaucracy.
Common Cancer SymptomsMost symptoms and signs of cancer may also be explained by harmless conditions, so it's important to limit one's risk factors and undergo appropriate cancer screening. Common cancer symptoms and signs are a change in bowel habits or urination, persistent cough, blood in the stool, urine, or saliva, lump in the breast or testicle, hoarseness, swollen glands, a change in a wart or mole, unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge, difficulty swallowing, unexplained weight loss, and headaches.
EndoscopyWith the procedure known as gastrointestinal endoscopy, a doctor is able to see the inside lining of your digestive tract. This examination is performed using an endoscope -- a flexible fiberoptic tube, usually with the patient under sedation.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.