Esophageal Cancer

Erik Dearborn

Where does it occur?

Esophageal Cancer occurs in the tissue of the Esophagus. It creates a malignant tumor. The esophagus is part of the digestive system, it brings chewed food from the mouth to the rest of the digestive system.

What happens to the cells?

It is not understood what happens to the cells in esophageal cancer other than that it is s a mutation that is similar to other cancers. They grow into a tumor and can spread to other parts of the body.

Possible Affects on the Body

Environmental factors or inherited?

Drinking alcohol
Having bile reflux
Having difficulty swallowing because of an esophageal sphincter that won't relax (achalasia)
Drinking very hot liquids
Eating few fruits and vegetables
Having gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Being obese
Having precancerous changes in the cells of the esophagus (Barrett's esophagus)
Undergoing radiation treatment to the chest or upper abdomen


To treat this cancer, there are a few option. The first is surgery, to remove the cancer, placing a metal tube in your throat to keep the cancer from closing your esophagus. Tube feeding, Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and a combination of the two.


To prevent getting esophageal cancer, don't smoke and if you do stop. Avoid alcohol and if you do drink do so in moderation, Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Also maintain a healthy weight.

This type of cancer is not that common in the united states, it is more common in other parts of the world such as Asia and Africa.

How it is diagnosed

Esophageal cancer is normally diagnosed in its advanced stages because the signs and symptoms do not often occur in the early stages. It is diagnosed by using a scope to examine your esophagus, and collecting a sample to test.


The symptoms of esophageal cancer don't typically show until the advanced stages. The symptoms may include...

  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Weight loss without trying
  • Chest pain, pressure or burning
  • Worsening indigestion or heartburn
  • Coughing or hoarseness