Esophageal cancer refers to a form of cancer that specifically affects the esophagus, the muscular tube responsible for carrying food from the mouth to the stomach. Cancer occurs when abnormal cells start to grow uncontrollably, leading to the formation of a mass of tissue known as a tumour. Esophageal cancers are categorised based on the type of cells involved:
– Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus: This is the most prevalent type of esophageal cancer and originates from the cells of mucus-secreting glands within the esophagus.
– Squamous cell carcinoma: This type of cancer develops from the cells lining the inside of the esophagus.
If you’re seeking assistance for esophageal cancer, our gastroenterologists at The Gut Clinic UK are the experts who can provide the best treatment options. To address your condition, we recommend contacting a specialist in your local area.
The underlying causes of esophageal cancer remain unclear, but several factors can increase the risk of developing this condition. These include advancing age, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), obesity, Barrett’s esophagus, dietary factors, smoking, alcohol consumption, exposure to certain chemicals, and pollutants.
During the initial stages of esophageal cancer, individuals may not exhibit any symptoms. However, as the cancer progresses, various signs and symptoms may manifest. These can include weight loss, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), chest pain, fatigue, frequent choking, indigestion, coughing, and hoarseness.
The diagnosis of esophageal cancer typically involves a series of steps conducted by your doctor. They will inquire about your symptoms and medical history and perform a thorough physical examination. To further aid in the diagnosis, the following tests may be recommended:
– Barium X-rays: This diagnostic imaging technique involves drinking a liquid containing barium, which coats the esophagus and stomach walls. X-rays are then taken to identify any abnormalities or tumours.
– Endoscopy: This procedure employs a flexible tube with a tiny camera (endoscope) to visually examine the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum for any signs of cancer.
– Biopsy: During an endoscopy, a small sample of tissue may be collected (biopsy) to be analysed under a microscope for the presence of abnormal cells.
Once a diagnosis is confirmed, the treatment for esophageal cancer may involve a combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery. Surgery, known as esophagectomy, is performed to remove the portion of the esophagus containing the tumor and adjacent lymph nodes. The remaining section of the esophagus is then reconnected to the stomach. For expert consultation regarding esophageal cancer, it is recommended to seek the services of a gastroenterologist specializing in this area, such as those at The Gut Clinic UK.
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