Dialog Box

Loading...

Oesophageal Cancer - Child

Definition of oesophageal cancer: 

Cancer that forms in tissues lining the oesophagus (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). 

Oesophageal tumours

Oesophageal tumours may be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancer). Oesophageal cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the oesophagus. The oesophagus is the hollow, muscular tube that moves food and liquid from the throat to the stomach. Most oesophageal tumours in children begin in the thin, flat cells that line the oesophagus.

Gastrointestinal (digestive) system anatomy; shows esophagus, liver, stomach, large intestine, and small intestine.

The stomach and oesophagus are part of the upper digestive system.

Symptoms and Diagnostic and Staging Tests

Oesophageal cancer may cause any of the following signs and symptoms. Check with your child’s doctor if you see any of the following problems in your child:

  • Trouble swallowing.
  • Weight loss.
  • Pain behind the breastbone.
  • Hoarseness and cough.
  • Indigestion and heartburn.

Other conditions that are not oesophageal cancer may cause these same symptoms.

Tests to diagnose and stage oesophageal cancer may include the following:

  • Physical exam and history.
  • X-ray of the chest.
  • CT scan.
  • PET scan.
  • Ultrasound.
  • Biopsy.

See the General Information section for a description of these tests and procedures.

Other tests used to diagnose oesophageal cancer include the following:

  • Oesophagoscopy: A procedure to look inside the oesophagus to check for abnormal areas. An oesophagoscope is inserted through the mouth or nose and down the throat into the oesophagus. An oesophagoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer. A biopsy is usually done during an oesophagoscopy. Sometimes a biopsy shows changes in the oesophagus that are not cancer but may lead to cancer.
  • Bronchoscopy: A procedure to look inside the trachea and large airways in the lung for abnormal areas. A bronchoscope is inserted through the nose or mouth into the trachea and lungs. A bronchoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer.
  • Thoracoscopy: A surgical procedure to look at the organs inside the chest to check for abnormal areas. An incision (cut) is made between two ribs and a thoracoscope is inserted into the chest. A thoracoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue or lymph node samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of cancer. Sometimes this procedure is used to remove part of the oesophagus or lung.
  • Laparoscopy: A surgical procedure to look at the organs inside the abdomen to check for signs of disease. Small incisions (cuts) are made in the wall of the abdomen and a laparoscope (a thin, lighted tube) is inserted into one of the incisions. Other instruments may be inserted through the same or other incisions to perform procedures such as removing organs or taking tissue samples to be checked under a microscope for signs of disease.

Prognosis

Oesophageal cancer is hard to cure because it usually is not possible to remove the whole tumour by surgery.

Treatment

Treatment for oesophageal cancer in children may include the following:

  • Surgery to remove all or part of the tumour.
  • Radiation therapy given through a plastic or metal tube placed through the mouth into the oesophagus.
  • Chemotherapy.

See the summary on adult Oesophageal Cancer for more information here

For more information on Childhood 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.