Esophageal Cancer – Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments

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Although there are few definite cures for esophageal cancer, there is a good chance of survival. Learn about the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments of this cancer and how the disease affects patients. The survival rate is high if the cancer is detected early and treated promptly.

Symptoms

Esophageal cancer is a severe condition characterized by tumor growth in the lining of the esophagus. It can develop on either the upper or lower part of the esophagus. Its risk increases with persistent acid reflux and heavy alcohol consumption. When cancer grows, it can cause pain, difficulty swallowing, and even dysphagia.

The symptoms of esophageal cancer can differ from one person to another. They may be mild at first or more severe after the cancer has spread to other areas. In addition to swallowing discomfort, patients may experience fever, abnormal liver enlargement, and bone pain. Seizures and confusion can also occur.

Another common symptom of esophageal cancer is chest pain. The pain can feel like pressure or burning and can be challenging to describe. It can occur during the morning or at night. If you experience chest pain or difficulty swallowing, see your physician as soon as possible.

Diagnosis

Various tests are used to diagnose esophageal cancer. These tests can either rule out cancer or determine its stage. Your doctor may also order other tests to check your overall health or plan your treatment. A complete blood count (CBC) and liver function tests are two tests used to determine whether cancer has spread. During these tests, your doctor may inject special liquids into your stomach or esophagus to check for cancer cells.

Treatment for esophageal cancer can include surgery and chemotherapy. Surgery is usually the first option and can be performed on most stage zero and stage one cancers. Surgery may also be used to treat stage three cancers that have not spread to vital structures. Radiation therapy may also be used to kill cancer cells.

Endoscopic ultrasound is another test used to confirm the diagnosis. This procedure uses a thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera at the tip. The camera allows the doctor to view internal organs inside the body. It allows doctors to see if there is a tumor and to check if it has spread to lymph nodes.

Treatment

Esophageal cancer is often treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may also be used in the treatment of esophageal cancer. These treatments may be combined to provide the best results. The order in which these procedures are performed depends on the stage and type of esophageal cancer.

Esophageal cancer treatment involves a multidisciplinary team of medical specialists. This group includes gastroenterologists, specialists in digestive system diseases, medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, and thoracic surgeons. Oncology nurses and radiologists are also involved in the treatment of esophageal cancer. The type of treatment chosen will depend on the stage of the disease and the patient’s personal preferences.

Patients with suspected esophageal cancer may undergo routine x-rays or more specialized imaging techniques. Endoscopic ultrasounds, which use a tiny endoscope, can show the extent of the tumor. A CT scan can also help determine whether cancer has spread. For more advanced stages of the disease, the physician may decide to remove lymph nodes from the area. The doctor may also place an expandable metal stent in the esophagus to help keep it open.

Survival rate

The survival rate of patients with esophageal cancer depends on several factors. The most crucial factor is the stage of the tumor. This stage indicates how advanced the disease is at the time of diagnosis. In addition, if the cancer is detected early enough, the chances of survival are excellent. The survival rate of patients treated with surgery is approximately 80%. The survival rate of patients with stage III or metastatic esophageal cancer is only about 15%.

The survival rate of esophageal disease varies across geographical regions. The overall mortality rate for this cancer is around 25 percent. The survival rate for this type of cancer varies considerably based on age and sex. In the United States, there are about 17,650 new cases and 16,080 deaths yearly. Most cases and deaths are due to adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

While the incidence of esophageal cancer has decreased in some countries, the overall survival rate for this disease is still poor. This is partly because most patients have no symptoms and are detected at advanced stages. As such, most of these cancers are not resectable by surgery. Furthermore, patients with dysplasia of the esophageal epithelium are at risk of developing precancerous lesions. Thus, screening is essential to identify and treat this condition before it becomes malignant.

 

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