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Cancer that forms in tissues lining the esophagus (the muscular tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach). Two types of oesophageal cancer are squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in flat cells lining the oesophagus) and adenocarcinoma (cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids).
The oesophagus is the hollow, muscular tube that moves food and liquid from the throat to the stomach. The wall of the esophagus is made up of several layers of tissue, including mucous membrane, muscle, and connective tissue. Oesophageal cancer starts at the inside lining of the oesophagus and spreads outward through the other layers as it grows.
The stomach and oesophagus are part of the upper digestive system.
The two most common forms of oesophageal cancer are named for the type of cells that become malignant (cancerous):
Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. Risk factors include the following:
These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by oesophageal cancer or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:
The following tests and procedures may be used:
Barium swallow. The patient swallows barium liquid and it flows through the oesophagus and into the stomach. X-rays are taken to look for abnormal areas.
Oesophagoscopy. A thin, lighted tube is inserted through the mouth and into the esophagus to look for abnormal areas.
The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:
When oesophageal cancer is found very early, there is a better chance of recovery. Oesophageal cancer is often in an advanced stage when it is diagnosed. At later stages, oesophageal cancer can be treated but rarely can be cured.
For more information on Oesophageal Cancer click here
This link is to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) cancer website in the United States. There may be references to drugs and clinical trials that are not available here in Australia.
Page last updated: 06/05/2020