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Esophageal Cancer

more about Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal tumors


  • The esophagus is the tube that carries food down inside the chest, from the mouth to the stomach.  Cancers in this region are called esophageal cancer or tumors.

  • No symptoms until late in the disease for many individuals
  • Difficulty swallowing solid food
  • Pain on swallowing may occur
  • Weight loss
  • Coughing may occur late in the disease
  • Chest or back pain may occur
  • Hoarseness may occur

  • Laboratories:
    1. Anemia
    2. Low albumin due to Malnutrition
  • Imaging:
    1. Chest X-Ray shows a widened mediastinum or metastases
    2. Barium esophogram
  • Endoscopy (scope is passed into the esophagus) -- shows picture and biopsies are taken
  • CT scan of chest and liver to check for metastases
  • Endoscopy Ultrasound to check for local spread in the esophagus
  • Bronchoscopy (scope passed into lungs) sometimes is done to check for spread to lungs

  • Alcohol and tobacco use
  • Smoking
  • Plummer -- Vinson syndrome
  • Food additives such as nitrates may be a risk factor
  • Tylosis (callus formation)
  • Achalasia
  • Caustic induced strictures
  • Long-standing acid reflux/Barrett's esophagus

  • Options -- cancer specialist determines the best options from among the following:
    1. Surgery
    2. Radiation
    3. Chemotherapy
    4. Stent placement to keep esophagus open

  • Seek medical treatment as soon as possible.  This disease is often spread at the time it is diagnosed, and may not be curable.  The best chance for a cure is to catch this disease early.

  • Special information: Barrett's Esophagus

- This is a pre-cancerous esophageal disease caused by long-standing acid reflux.  It is usually recommended that any person with long-standing acid reflux (usually 2 years or more) have an Endoscopy to check for Barrett's esophagus.  Untreated, Barrett's esophagus can turn into a form of esophageal cancer.

more about Esophageal Cancer

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