Oesophageal cancer

We’ve all had that feeling of something getting stuck in your throat, when we eat too quickly, or don’t chew properly 제이쿼리 엑셀 다운로드. However, if you often experience a feeling of “food getting stuck” or have difficulty swallowing, you should see your doctor.

What is the oesophagus?

The adult oesophagus is the 25cm long tube you use to swallow. It’s a muscle-tube running from your mouth to your stomach, and is also known as the gullet.

Who is at risk of getting oesophageal cancer?

In most cases, oesophageal cancer is not caused by an inherited abnormal/faulty gene, but lifestyle factors, gender, and age can play a part. Men have a higher risk than women, smoking and poor diet can increase your risk, as well as digestive issues. Here are some more factors that increase the risk of oesophageal cancer:

  • age 45-70 years
  • alcohol (increased risk with a lot of alcohol/lengthy period of drinking)
  • obesity
  • reflux of gastric acid or bile reflux
  • chewing tobacco
  • previous cancer treatment (radiotherapy to the chest or upper abdomen – a rare cause)
  • Tylosis (a rare, inherited skin condition)
  • Achalasia
  • drinking of very hot liquids
  • cancer of the head, neck and lungs
  • HPV infection
  • oesophageal webs

Possible symptoms of oesophageal cancer

It’s important to note that other medical conditions, besides cancer, can cause these symptoms.  Always consult a doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, to get a professional opinion.

  • difficulty swallowing, initially for solid food, then soft food or even liquid
  • pain on swallowing
  • a feeling of food getting stuck in one’s throat or chest area
  • persistent heartburn (a burning discomfort or chest pain after eating)
  • unintentional weight loss
  • vomiting or bringing food back up, that hasn’t reached the stomach yet
  • pain in the throat, centre of the chest, or rarely in the shoulder or back area
  • recurrent/regular hiccups that are associated with pain
  • a persistent cough, especially when trying to eat
  • hoarseness, or a feeling of needing to clear the throat often
  • coughing up blood, blood in the vomit or food that has been regurgitated
  • dark (almost black) colour stool
Read  10 Ways to fight cancer

How is oesophageal cancer diagnosed?

To make an initial diagnosis, your doctor may send you for an endoscopy. A long tube with a fibre-optic is used to examine your oesophagus for any abnormal areas or growths. A biopsy may be taken and sent to the laboratory for examination under a microscope. A test used less often is the barium meal/swallow: this test is used to show the outline of the inside of the oesophagus and stomach on an x-ray. Once there’s been a positive diagnosis, your doctor will run more tests to see if the cancer has spread and to help plan the correct treatment.

  • CT scan of the lungs, abdomen: to look for cancer spread, enlarged lymph nodes
  • Endoscopic ultrasound: used to assess how deeply the cancer cells may have infiltrated the wall of the oesophagus;  also used to assess whether lymph nodes close to the oesophagus are involved by the cancer
  • PET-CT scan: used to show up areas of active disease – and MRI may be used when better visualisation is necessary
  • Laparoscopy: to look for cancer spread
  • Blood tests

How is oesophageal cancer treated?

Treatment will depend on the type and stage of the cancer, where it is located and your general health. These are the treatment options:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Combined chemo- and radiotherapy (may be used in some cases, before surgery, or instead of surgery)
  • Radiotherapy (internal/brachytherapy, or external)
  • Biological therapy (Herceptin, Avastin)