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Esophageal Cancer Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Esophageal cancer is categorized in two categories squamous cell carcinomas and Adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma is caused due to excessive intake of tobacco and alcohol, and Adenocarcinoma arises in glandular tissue and it is commonly found in patients suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Causes of Esophageal Cancer

1. Age and gender: The cancer is mostly found in patients above sixty years and it is most common in men.

2. Heredity: Heredity is a common cause and it can happen to people whose relatives suffered from this disease.

3. Tobacco smoking and alcohol: Intake of tobacco and smoking is related to the problem.

4. GERD: Gastroesophageal reflux disease is linked to esophagus cancer and it is caused due to chronic irritation in the inner lining of the esophagus.

5. Virus infection: Esophageal cancer can also be caused by Human papillomavirus.

6. Chemical reasons: Eating certain form of alkaline or acidic drugs may cause esophagus cancer. Use of drugs such as aspirin can also trigger the problem.

7. Diet: Substances such as nitrosmamine can cause the problem.

8. Previous medical problems: Anaemia, medical history of cancer of neck or head, thickening of skin of palm and soles, obesity or esophagus webbing problems can also cause the Esophageal cancer.

9. Drinking beverage and alcohol

10. Achalasia and Celiac disease


1. Dysphagia i.e. difficulty in swallowing food and Odynophagia i.e. pain in swallowing food

2. Weight loss

3. Change in voice leading to cough

4. Pain in throat and shoulder

5. Blood in cough

6. Vomiting

Stages of Esophageal Cancer

Initially, the cancer is found in the top layer of the esophagus lining and in the second stage, the tumour spreads to the lymph nodes and in later stages, the cancer spreads to other body parts such as lungs, brain, liver and bones.

Diagnosis and Treatment

1. To find out about the medical problem, the doctors can carry out barium test, in which, the X-ray is taken after the patient takes barium.

2. Endoscope can also be used to examine the esophagus tube.

3. CT scan connected to the X-ray machines, provides a series of photographs of the inner lining of esophagus and bone scan can also be done to find out if the cancer has spread to bones or not.

Some of the common treatments for Esophageal Cancer are:

A team of doctors consisting of surgeons and oncologist may be required to treat the problem because during treatment the mouth of the patient becomes sensitive to get infected.

1. Removing the tumour through surgery: The commonest method of removing the tumour is by surgery, in which, the doctors removes the infectious esophagus and lymph nodes from the body and connects a healthy part to the stomach. To connect the esophagus to the stomach, the doctor may use a part of the stomach or a plastic tube.

2. Laser therapy: Intense radiation of laser beam can be used to kills the tumour and to open the blockage of the esophagus. Radiation therapy can be used, in which, high power radiation is used to kill the cancerous cells of the esophagus.

3. Anti-cancer drugs can be used to kill the damaged cells of the body.

4. Sometimes, both laser therapy and drugs are used to kill the body cells and in such cases, the body cells are exposed to strong light and these methods are called photodynamic therapy.

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