The esophagus is a tube-like gastrointestinal organ located in the chest cavity. It starts from the throat (the pharynx) and is further connected with the stomach. The esophagus is mostly made of muscular tissue. The organ has three layers, submucosa, muscle layer and the outer layer. The inner layer contains esophageal glands which make the organ moist and the very surface is made of epithelial cells.
Esophageal Cancer - Types of the Tumor
As it is the case with any other organ in the body even in case of esophageal cancer the tumor originates from certain tissues i.e. cells the organ is made of. There are several pathohistological types of esophageal carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is made of cells which originate from the glands of the inner layer of the organ. In many cases adenocarcinoma develops in the lower portion of the esophagus. It is commonly reported in people suffering from gastroesophageal reflux diseases and Barrett's esophagus.
Another frequently reported pathohistological type of esophageal carcinoma is squamous cell carcinoma. This malignant tumor originates from abnormal cells of the epithelium of the organ. Unlike esophageal adenocarcinoma, esophageal squamous cell carcinoma may form anywhere inside the organ.
Finally, there are several more other types of esophageal cancer which are not so common. These include spindle cell carcinoma, sarcoma and lymphoma.
Esophageal Cancer Surgery
The goal of the surgery for esophageal cancer is complete removal of the tumor, which is achieved by surgical excision of the growth and some of the surrounding healthy tissue, as well as removal of the affected or potentially affected regional lymph nodes. Also, certain number of patients undergo some palliative surgical procedures, the ones which allow them deal with severely advanced form of the disease.
Placement of a stent is performed in patients suffering from swallowing difficulties and those who have developed fistulas. A nasogastric tube is inserted directly into the stomach allowing patients to take foods without need for it to be swallowed.
Esophagectomy is a surgical resections of the segment of the organ, the one affected by the tumor. The surgery may also include resection of regional lymph nodes and the upper part of the stomach. There are several different types of this procedure depending on the location of the cancer and several more factors. It is essential to mention that surgery deals with the tumor which can be seen by naked eye. Still, in spite of extensive surgery, there is also chance that some cancer cells remain in the operated area. This is the reason why patients most commonly undergo additional treatments once they have been operated. These include chemotherapy, radiation therapy or the combinations of the two.