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Esophageal Cancer Overview
Esophageal cancer (or oesophageal cancer) is malignancy of the esophagus.
Oesophagus Esophagus is the part of digestive tract through which food moves from the mouth to the stomach.The esophagus is a muscular tube it is about 8-10 inches long.
Cancer:Normal cells grow and divide to form new cells, as the body needs them. When normal cells grow old or get damaged, they die, and new cells take their place. Cancer occurs when normal cells undergo a transformation in which they grow and multiply without normal controls forming malignant (cancerous), tumor (growth) that consists of cells from the oesophagus.
Cancer cells can spread deeper in to the same or neighboring organs by breaking away from the tumour, through blood and lymph supply. These cells can attach themselves to different tissues and form new tumors. This process is known as Metastasis. Growths in the wall of the esophagus can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Benign growths are not as harmful as malignant growths There are two main types of oesophageal cancer:
1. Squamous Cell Carcinoma: It occurs from the flat cells lining the oesophagus
2. Adenocarcinoma: It occurs from the oesophageal glands
In nearly 80-85% percent of the cases the tumour is present in middle and the lower One third of the oesophagus. The cardinal symptom of oesophageal cancer is dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing)
What are the causes of Esophageal Cancer? Top
The causes of cancer are still not known. But we do know certain factors can increase the risk of developing oesophageal cancer.
  • Age: People above 65 are more prone to develop oesophageal cancer
  • Gender: Males are 5 times more likely than females to have oesophageal cancer
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Gastric reflux: In cases were the acidic reflux from the stomach affects the oesophagus.
  • Barrett’s Oesophagus
  • Obesity
What are the sign and symptoms of Esophageal Cancer? Top
In early stages oesophageal cancer usually does not have any symptoms.The cardinal symptoms of oesophageal cancer are Dysphagia(difficult swallowing) and odynophagia(painful swallowing).
  • Dysphagia: At first swallowing solids is difficult but as the disease progresses swallowing liquids even become difficult.
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Central chest Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Fever, Malaise
Symptoms of Gastrointestinal bleeding like:
  • Vomiting of blood or material that looks like coffee grounds
  • Blood in stool (black stools)
What are the stages of Esophageal Cancer an how is it diagnosed? Top
The best diagnosis is based on findings from an endoscopic examination of the esophagus. A biopsy can be ordered. Stages of oesophageal cancer can be broadly described as:
  • Stage I - Tumor limited to the top layers of the cell lining.
  • Stage II - Tumor extending deeper into muscle layers of the esophagus or into adjacent lymph nodes.
  • Stage III - Tumor extensively involving the wall of the esophagus, adjacent tissues, or lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV - Tumor involving distant parts of the body (metastases) and may involve the liver, lungs, brain, or bones.
Other test, which might prove helpful, are:
  • Barium Swallow
  • Chest X-ray
  • Ct scans
  • Nuclear Bone scans
What is the role of Homoeopathy in Esophageal Cancer? Top
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