Esophageal cancer is the cancer that originates in the esophagus, which is an elongated, void tube that runs from your throat to your tummy. Esophagus basically helps to carry food in your stomach to be digested. This type of cancer generally begins in the cells, lining inside of the esophagus. It can even spread to lungs, liver, stomach and some other parts of the body.
Types of Esophageal Cancer
There are 2 main types of esophageal cancer. These are:
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: As the name suggests, it starts in the squamous cells lining the esophagus.
Adenocarcinoma: It originates in the glandular tissues in the lower part of the esophagus i.e. the point where esophagus and stomach come jointly.
Symptoms & Causes of Esophageal Cancer
- Drinking Alcohol.
- Problem in Swallowing.
- Consuming Very Hot Liquids.
- Being Obese.
- Eating Less Fruits and Vegetables.
- Having Bile Reflux.
- Undergoing Radiation Treatment on Upper Abdomen.
Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer include:
- Weight Loss.
- Indigestion or Heartburn.
- Chest Pain.
Diagnosing Esophageal Cancer
Common tests and procedures used to diagnose esophageal cancer are:
- Physical Exam – Checking general science of the human body, including the signs of disease etc.
- Chest X-Ray – In this procedure, an energy beam is used to make pictures of areas inside the human body.
- Barium Swallow Test – In this test, the patient is asked to drink a type of liquid containing barium. This liquid forms a coating on the esophagus and stomach, thus allowing the doctor to take its X-Ray.
- Esophagoscopy – This test helps to look inside the esophagus for checking the abnormal areas.
- Biopsy – It is, basically removing cells so that doctor can view it under microscope for checking cancer signs.
Treatment of Esophageal Cancer
On the basis of the type of cells involved in cancer, esophageal cancer treatments are as follows:
- Chemotherapy: It involves using anti-cancer drugs for treatment that kills the cancer cells. Also, these drugs are used before and after surgery in individuals with esophageal cancer. This treatment is very effective when the cancer has metastasized.
- Surgery: It is the treatment in which very small tumors can be removed, the portion of the esophagus can be removed. Sometimes, this is the only treatment that is required for the patient.
- Radiation Therapy: High-power energy beams are used for destroying cancer cells. This treatment may lead some side effects, but considered as one of the most effective treatments and can also be used with chemotherapy.
Various treatment complications of Esophageal Cancer are:
- Obstruction of Esophagus.
- Loss of hair
- Digestive issues
Post Operative Care
After completion of treatment, doctors would still need to watch their patients closely. So, follow-up care is very important. Some of the crucial points to be kept in mind are:
- Do not lie down immediately after eating.
- While lying down, constantly keep the head of your bed raised.
- Always try to raise the upper half of your body.
- Drink as much water as you can.
- Only drink up to 4 ounces of liquid with meals.
- Avoid polluted, or busy places.