Esophageal cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the tissue of the esophagus. The two most common types of esophageal cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.
Squamous cell carcinoma begins in flat cells lining the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids.
While smoking and heavy alcohol use increase the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, Gastroesophageal reflux disease and Barrett esophagus, among other risk factors, may lead to an increased risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Esophageal cancer [adenocarcinoma] is one of the fastest growing cancers in the United States and is also one of the deadliest. However, when caught early, the chances of survival are much higher as there are better treatment options available.
Unfortunately, esophageal cancer is often detected late as symptoms typically arise once the cancer grows and becomes more advanced. Remember, there are no routine screenings for esophageal cancer. Knowing the signs and symptoms is the first step in battling this cancer. You should see your doctor immediately if you notice any of the symptoms listed below:
o Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing),
o Chronic heartburn or indigestion,
o Frequent choking while eating,
o Chest pain, pressure or burning,
o Unexplained weight loss,
o Cough or hoarseness,
o Coughing up blood.
Learn what tests are used to screen for esophageal cancer.Sources: cancer.gov cancer.net
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