Esophageal cancer

Alternative Names

Cancer – esophagus

Definition of Esophageal cancer

Esophageal cancer is a cancerous (malignant) tumor of the esophagus, the muscular tube that moves food from the mouth to the stomach.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Esophageal cancer is relatively uncommon in the United States. It occurs most often in men over 50 years old. Two main types of esophageal cancer exist: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. These two types look different from each other under the microscope.

Signs and tests

Tests used to help diagnose esophageal cancer may include:

Treatment

When esophageal cancer is only in the esophagus and has not spread, surgery is the treatment of choice. The goal of surgery is to remove the cancer.

Expectations (prognosis)

Esophageal cancer is a very difficult disease to cure. When the cancer has not spread outside the esophagus, surgery may improve chances of survival.

Review

David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 10/20/2009

Digestive system
Heartburn prevention

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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