The esophagus is an organ of about 30 cm, starting from the neck to the stomach. Cancers that occur in this organ are called “esophageal cancers”. Food and beverages consumed in excessive heat will damage the esophagus. Therefore, esophageal cancer is more common in regions where cold climates prevail.
Types of esophagus cancer
- Flat cell (Squamous) esophageal cancer: Cancer caused by thin membrane tissue consisting of flat cells lining the inside of the esophagus. Reasons;
- Alcohol and smoking
- Consuming excessive hot drinks
- Burnt-smoked food consumption
- Adenocarcinoma esophageal cancer: It changes shape when exposed to mucous membrane, stomach acid and bile in the lower region of the esophagus. It begins to resemble the glands and the inner lining of the stomach. It is a type of cancer originating from deformed cells. The main reason is reflux. The risk increases even more when reflux and smoking-alcohol consumption are combined.
Symptoms of esophageal cancer by stages
- Stage 1: There are not many symptoms at this stage, it can be understood by chance or as a result of screening.
- Stage 2: Difficulty swallowing may occur. Rarely, a feeling of stuck in the throat and intestinal bleeding may occur.
- Stage 3: There is a serious difficulty in swallowing. The patient becomes unable to eat solid food. Drool discharge can be seen in the elderly.
- Stage 4: Serious weight loss is experienced. Cancer has now metastasized. Cough if it has splashed into the trachea; flank pain if spattered into the liver; bone pain may occur if it spattered into the bones.
Diagnosis of esophageal cancer
Endoscopic imaging is sufficient for diagnosis. For the exact diagnosis, the result of the pathological examination of the piece taken is important. After the diagnosis is finalized, endoscopic ultrasound imaging (EUI) method is used to determine the stage of cancer. Computerized Tomography and Pet CT examination should be performed before treatment or surgery.
Treatment of esophageal cancer
The treatment changes according to the region and stage of cancer. In stage 3 esophageal cancers, chemoradiotherapy is applied, where low-dose radiotherapy and chemotherapy are combined. Serious responses are received from this treatment. Esophageal cancer surgery is performed in patients who are suitable for surgery with chemoradiotherapy treatment. Treatment in stages 1-2 and 3 is planned for the area where the tumor is located. Operations cannot be performed in the 4th stage esophageal cancers. This patient group is applied chemotherapy and radiotherapy.