Esophageal tumours are classified based on their cell of origin
- Squamous cell carcinoma - This type of cancer can occur anywhere along the esophagus, but is most common in the neck region and in the upper two-thirds of the chest cavity.
- Adenocarcinoma- Adenocarcinomas are often found in the lower third of the esophagus. Depending on the type of cancer, the chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment drugs and dosage can differ a little.
The overall 5 year survival rate for esophageal cancers is 50%. However, for an individual patient the outcomes may be improved if multimodality treatment is offered and tumor is completely resected.
Depending on the stage of the disease, esophageal cancer’s effect on a patient’s quality of life may vary. Advanced cancers, however, may require more extensive treatments like radiation and surgery which may make swallowing difficult. After treatment is complete, patients with advanced cancers may have to relearn how to swallow and may have to eat smaller, more frequent meals.
Certain group of patients who are at high risk of developing esophageal cancer can be screened with Upper GI endoscopy.
- Have experienced heartburn once a week and do not experience any relief from medications
- Have a long-term history of smoking
- Have been diagnosed with a condition called Barrett’s esophagus (occurring due to gastroesophageal reflux).
Esophageal cancer screening may be especially beneficial for people who: