Esophageal Cancer: Types, symptoms, prevention and treatment
- From types to treatment to prevention to its connection with genetics, here’s all that you need to know about Esophageal Cancer.
Esophageal Cancer is the disease when malignant cell formation happens in the tissues of the esophagus. This can be caused by multiple reasons, some of which are smoking and heavy usage of alcohol. Based on the location of the cancerous cells, Esophageal Cancer can be divided – upper, middle and lower. Based on the location, the treatment of the cancer also varies.
Speaking to HT Lifestyle, Dr. Anil Kamath, Sr. Consultant, Surgical Oncology Apollo Cancer Centre, Bangalore pointed out that there are two types of Esophageal Cancer - Squamous Carcinoma and Adenocarcinoma.
“Typically, esophageal cancer patients present difficulty in swallowing, which is called dysphagia in medical terms. The dysphagia is progressive initially it is for solid food, later to liquids and later there can be total dysphagia,” said Dr. Anil Kamath. He further added that in later stages of cancer, pain during swallowing and odynophagia are also visible symptoms. Some patients with more advanced cancers may present with bloody vomit and also lung infection because of aspiration.
An endoscopy is usually done to detect Esophageal cancer. Imaging investigations like CT or Pet scans are also required to detect the same.
In order to prevent Esophageal Cancer, Anil Kamath recommended to avoid smoking. He also added that a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables can also be beneficial.
Treatment of Esophageal Cancer usually involves surgery or radiation along with Chemotherapy.
Dos and don’ts:
“The important thing is to identify symptoms early and seek medical attention. Any difficulty in swallowing especially in an elderly gentleman or a smoker should be taken seriously and investigated. Usage of aerated drinks, spicy food, and hot beverages are other factors suspected to be associated with this cancer though the definite proof is still lacking,” said Anil Kamath.
Esophageal cancer and Genetics:
Speaking of the connection between Esophageal Cancer and genetics, Anil Kamath said that the chances of this cancer being passed genetically is negligible.