Esophageal cancer occurs in the esophagus – a long hollow tube that runs from your throat to your stomach. Your esophagus carries food you swallow to your stomach to be digested. Esophageal cancer usually begins in the cells that line the inside of the esophagus and can occur anywhere along the esophagus.
It is currently unclear what causes esophageal adenocarcinoma. This type of cancer occurs when cells in your esophagus develop mutations, or errors, in their DNA; these mutations make cells grow and divide out of control. The abnormal cells accumulate and form a tumor in the esophagus that can grow to invade nearby structures and spread to other parts of the body.
Early esophageal cancer can cause no signs or symptoms.
Signs and symptoms can include:
A scope is used to examine your esophagus, called an endoscopy procedure. During the endoscopy, your physician passes a hollow tube that has a lens down into your throat and esophagus; this helps the physician examine your esophagus. A sample of tissue may be collected and sent to a lab to perform a biopsy.
If you are diagnosed with esophageal adenocarcinoma, the stage of cancer will be determined by your physician, and treatment options will be discussed at this time.
What treatments you receive for esophageal cancer are based on the types of cells involved in your cancer, your cancer’s stage, your overall health and your preferences for treatment.
Treatment options include:
Steps to reduce your risk of esophageal cancer include: