Esophageal cancer is one of the commonest ones in the world. It originates from the esophageal tissues. Oesophagus is the thin, long muscular tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. The symptoms of esophageal cancer may not be noticeable until the disease has advanced.
Early oesophageal cancer is usually treated surgically so that the tumour is removed and symptoms are ceased. For later-stage or more advanced cancers, a combination of different treatment modalities such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy may be required. If the cancer is too advanced and it can’t be cured, focus is shifted on easing the symptoms and maintaining the quality of life for the patient.
Oesophageal cancer occurs when the malignant cells begin to multiply rapidly in the oesophageal tissue. Although esophageal cancer is aggressive, many patients are asymptomatic until the cancer has already spread. This is because the oesophagus tries to compensate by stretching and making room for large bites of food. However, when the tumour multiplies and grows further, it starts blocking the esophageal opening. You may notice that it hurts swallowing and that you are facing trouble swallowing.
Oesophageal cancer is mainly of two types:
Esophageal cancer mostly affects males who are above 60 years of age.
The first symptom of esophageal cancer that most people notice is difficulty swallowing. Other symptoms include:
Esophageal cancer usually grows very fast. The oesophagus expands around the cancerous cells as the tumour grows. This is why most patients are asymptomatic until the cancer has spread.
The exact cause responsible for causing esophageal cancer is not known, but there are some risk factors which increase the chances of developing the disease. Those are:
The doctor first asks many questions about the symptoms and medical history of the patient. Following are some of the tests that are commonly performed to confirm the diagnosis:
When staging esophageal cancer, healthcare providers look for several factors including the depth and location of the cancer, its spread to the surrounding lymph nodes and distant spread.
Grading of the tumour is also done. Tumour grades help determine whether tumour cells act and appear like normal cells. Low-grade tumours may be less aggressive as they are slow-growing, while high-grade tumours can be more aggressive as their cells divide very rapidly.
The treatment of cancer oesophagus depends on the grade and stage of the cancer. Following are some of the main treatment options available:
Cancer of the oesophagus is one of the most common cancers worldwide. It is also one of the hardest to treat cancer. This is because it is almost asymptomatic until the cancer is spread. Even if the cancer can’t be completely cured, treatment options are available to help people live long lives.
The Centre for Cancer at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore offers diagnostic and curative services for a diverse range of cancers. Our team of highly talented doctors and allied medical staff are supported by state-of-the-art equipment and modern machines. This comprehensive team of professionals is dedicated to treating the patients in the best possible way with an aim to render the patient physically fit and healthy so that they can return to their normal day-to-day activities.
The centre also houses a centre for rehabilitation medicine that helps individuals to overcome health disabilities and attain a degree of optimal health. The coordination of all rehabilitation programs is conducted by medical and surgical teams who have years of experience in dealing with complex cases and are committed to provide the highest quality of treatment and care to the patient.