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Esophageal cancer is the type of cancer where the cancer cells develop in the tissue of the esophagus. The esophagus is the organ that connects the throat and the stomach and the main function of it is to move the food and liquid to the stomach. More than one layer of the esophagus wall exists. Mucous membrane, muscle and connective tissue are only some of the layers. The cancer first develops in the inner layers and moves outward as the disease spreads.

Many forms of cancer of the esophagus exist but two that are seen most often are called squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma forms in squamous cells, which are the lining of the esophagus. This type of esophageal cancer can develop in any part of the esophagus but it is usually seen in the upper and middle part of the organ. Adenocarcinoma develops in the glandular cells and most often in the lower parts of the esophagus, close to the stomach.

Is esophageal cancer curable

In the year 2009, there were more than 16, 400 new patients diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. According to the data, more than 14,000 of them died because of it. In the past few years, more and more people develop cancer of the esophagus. The experts are unsure why that is the case. In the United States and Western Europe, adenocarcinoma is a more often seen type of esophageal cancer than squamous cell carcinoma. The risk factors for squamous cell carcinoma are somewhat clear while those that increase the risk of adenocarcinoma remain not so clear. However, the experts are sure that the presence of Barrett syndrome increases the risk of adenocarcinoma.

Every type of cancer can be treated but there are not that many types that are often curable. Cancer of the esophagus is treatable but there are not that many patients who cure the disease. The 5-year survival rate is between 5 and 30% in patients who receive definitive treatment. The chances of survival are higher in patients who are diagnosed with cancer while it is still in the early stages. However, this type of cancer is not easy to detect in the early stages.

Newest cures for esophageal cancer

Getting to know risk factors and signs of esophageal cancer is vital for the early discover of the disease. Certain factors can be influenced but there are also those that cannot. Tobacco use and heavy alcohol drinking can be influenced but other risk factors like being male, being African-American or being old cannot. Barrett syndrome is other risk factors that can increase the chance of developing cancer of the esophagus. Early diagnosis of any type of cancer increases the chance of survival because more treatment options are available when the cancer is spotted in the early stages. However, this is not an easy task as the symptoms of cancer of the esophagus are similar to various other health conditions. The most often seen first signs of this type of cancer are problems and pain with swallowing and weight loss. Apart from these two, some of the other signs include pain behind the breastbone, hoarseness and cough and indigestion and heartburn. In order for the cancer of the esophagus to be diagnosed, the doctor will perform certain tests. Chest x-ray, barium swallowing, esophagoscopy and biopsy are the types of tests that are used most often. Apart from ordering these tests, the doctor will also talk to the patient about the symptoms, medical history and perform a physical exam.

Prognosis and treatment plan are made based on several essential factors. These factors are the stage of the cancer, the size of the tumor and the general health of the patient. The prognosis for this type of cancer is never good but it is a lot better if the disease is in the early stage.

The type of treatment is not the same in every patient. There is more than one type of treatment available. Standard treatment and clinical trials exist. Clinical studies are vital because they have the purpose of improving the currently used treatments and get more info on the new possible ways of treatment. When the clinical trial showed that the new treatment is better than the standard one, that new way of treatment usually becomes the standard treatment. At this moment, there are five types of standard treatment that are being used for patients diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus.

Surgery is the first choice as treatment for this disease and it is used most often. The procedure is called esophagectomy and it consists of removing a part of the esophagus.

Radiation therapy is the second most often used type of therapy for cancer of the esophagus. High-energy x-rays are used for the killing of the cancer cells. External radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy are available. In chemotherapy drugs are used to stop the growth of cancer cells. Apart from these types of treatment, laser therapy and electrocoagulation are available treatment options as well.

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