Esophageal cancer

Posted by e-Medical PPT Saturday, September 18, 2010
Esophageal cancer is malignancy of the esophagus.The subtypes are adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma arises from the cells that line the upper part of the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma arises from glandular cells that are present at the junction of the esophagus and stomach.Esophageal tumors usually lead to dysphagia , odynophagia (painful swallowing) and other symptoms, and are diagnosed with biopsy. Small and localized tumors are treated surgically with curative intent. Larger tumors tend not to be operable and hence are treated with palliative care; their growth can still be delayed with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or a combination of the two.
Squamous cell carcinomas, which are similar to head and neck cancer in their appearance and association with tobacco and alcohol consumption, and adenocarcinomas, which are often associated with a history of gastroesophageal reflux disease(GORD) and Barrett's esophagus. A general rule of thumb is that a cancer in the upper two-thirds is a squamous cell carcinoma and one in the lower one-third is a adenocarcinoma.
Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and odynophagia (painful swallowing) are the most common symptoms of esophageal cancer. Dysphagia is the first symptom in most patients. Odynophagia may also be present.Substantial weight loss is characteristic as a result of reduced appetite and poor nutrition and the active cancer.Most of the people diagnosed with esophageal cancer have late-stage disease. This is because people usually don't have significant symptoms until half of the inside of the esophagus, called the lumen, is obstructed.If the disease has spread elsewhere, this may lead to symptoms related to this: liver metastasis could cause jaundice and ascites, lung metastasis could cause shortness of breath, pleural effusions,etc.

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