Esophageal cancer begins in the middle layer of the esophagus, which is the tube that carries food and liquids from the throat to the stomach. The two primary types of esophageal cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. The first develops in the cells lining the esophagus and the latter develops in the glandular cells of the esophagus. Some esophageal conditions such as Barrett’s esophagus and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause changes in the cells of the esophagus, which could lead to cancer.
Esophageal Cancer Risk Factors
The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 17,460 new cases of esophageal cancer are diagnosed in the United States annually. Men have a 1 in 125 chance of developing this cancer, compared to women who have a 1 in 435 chance.
Risk factors include:
- Having GERD
- Having Barrett’s esophagus
- Being a man
- Being over the age of 55
- Being overweight
Signs & Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer
See your doctor to discuss esophageal cancer testing options if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sensation that food is stuck in the chest or throat
- Frequent choking while eating
Esophageal Cancer Diagnosis & Treatment
There are a variety of tests that may be recommended for someone who is at a high risk for developing esophageal cancer, including:
- Endoscopic ultrasound
- Upper endoscopy
Treatment for esophageal cancer will involve a combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Esophageal Cancer Education, Screenings & Treatment at BayCare
BayCare is proud to offer a variety of cancer services throughout Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg and all of Tampa Bay. Call (855) 314-8346 for a physician referral or find a doctor near you.