What Is Esophageal Cancer?
Esophageal cancer is cancer of the tube that connects that mouth and stomach. Tobacco use and excessive alcohol use increase the risk of cancer in the upper esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus increases the risk for lower esophageal cancer.
Signs and Symptoms
Unfortunately, the early stages of esophageal cancer don’t usually cause any noticeable symptoms. When the cancer has progressed to a later stage, patients may experience difficulty swallowing, unintentional weight loss, chest pain or pressure, coughing, hoarseness, or heartburn.
Risk factors include GERD, Barrett’s esophagus, smoking, excessive alcohol use, family history of esophageal cancer.
Testing and Diagnosis
Esophageal cancer is diagnosed with an upper endoscopy.
Treatment is determined by the stage of the cancer. Later stages of cancer may require extensive surgery up to, and including, removal of the esophagus. Chemotherapy and radiation may also be recommended for patients who cannot have surgery or whose cancer has spread outside the esophagus.