Esophageal cancer is an oncological disease in which a tumor grows from the walls of the esophagus. It is more common in older people. The reasons for the development of pathology have not been precisely established, but it is known that the following factors can increase the risk of a malignant tumor in the esophagus:
smoking and drinking alcohol;
the use of excessively hot or cold food, drinks;
inhalation of toxic gases;
chemical burns of the esophagus.
The risks of oncology increase with obesity, gastroesophageal disease, keratoderma, Barrett’s disease.
The morphological classification of malignant tumors distinguishes several types:
squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus – differs in that the neoplasm develops from squamous epithelial cells;
adenocarcinoma – develops from glandular cells (less common, but more severe).
Small cell carcinoma, melonoma, sarcoma are rarely diagnosed.
In addition, malignant tumors are divided into several categories, depending on the characteristics of their growth. Endophytic cancer of the esophagus develops in the thickness of the walls of the organ, and exophytic cancer grows into the lumen of the esophagus. Sometimes there are also mixed forms. Such neoplasms are prone to decay. An ulcer may form in their place.
Stages and signs
The symptoms of esophageal cancer directly depend on the stage of tumor development. Many patients are interested in how esophageal cancer begins. At an early stage, malignant cells appear on the surface of the esophagus, while there are no obvious symptoms of pathology.
Further, the tumor develops in progression:
Stage I. The tumor grows deep into the mucous layer, but is small in size and does not affect the muscle layer. There are no signs of the disease.
Stage II. The tumor increases in size, and therefore grows into the muscle layer. Sometimes metastases appear in the nearest lymph nodes. The first symptoms begin to disturb.
Stage III. The neoplasm grows into all layers of the esophagus, is large, and therefore there are pronounced problems with swallowing.
Stage IV. Metastases are found not only in the lymph nodes, but also in distant organs.
The first symptom of esophageal cancer is difficulty swallowing food. The person feels that the food is getting stuck, and therefore tries to push it with water. Gradually, the symptom intensifies, as a result, the patient is forced to give up solid food. Weight loss due to malnutrition.
In addition, the patient is worried about the following symptoms:
nausea and vomiting;
unpleasant, putrid odor from the mouth;
admixture of blood in vomit;
hoarseness of voice;
slight rise in body temperature;
weakness, loss of strength.
Diagnostics and treatment
Comprehensive diagnostics are performed to detect a tumor. The following instrumental methods are used:
To confirm the diagnosis, a histological examination is required.
The most effective combination treatment for esophageal cancer is considered. Surgery for esophageal cancer is performed in the early stages. Often, the tumor is removed along with part of the esophagus and lymph nodes. In advanced stages, stenting is used, which allows you to establish normal nutrition.
The high effectiveness of chemotherapy for esophageal cancer is due to the fact that it helps prevent relapse. Radiation therapy is performed after and before surgery, when the tumor is large.
If esophageal cancer is diagnosed, the prognosis depends on the stage of the disease. In the early stages, the survival rate is high, but at stages 3-4, it does not exceed 10%. Therefore, it is especially important to seek medical help on time and undergo a full course of treatment.