Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.
*Esophageal cancer facts medically edited by: Charles P. Davis, MD, PhD
The esophagus in adults is a muscular tube about 10 inches long that helps move food from the mouth to the stomach. It is composed of a mucosal lining, submucosa, muscle tissue and an outer covering layer of cells called the adventitia above the diaphragm and the serosa below the diaphragm.
Cancer cells are malignant forms of body cells that often grow to form tissue masses or tumors that can spread to other organs.
The two main types of esophageal cancer are adenocarcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas.
Risk factors for both types are age 65 or greater, male sex, smoking, heavy drinking, a diet poor in fruits and vegetables, obesity, acid reflux, and Barrett's esophagus.
There are five stages of esophageal cancer (stages 0 to IV), with 0 being the least invasive and IV the most aggressive with spread to distant organs.
Treatment of this cancer is individually based on the patient's health and cancer stage; the options vary from surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of these options (also, some patients may be considered for laser or photodynamic therapy
Surgery for this cancer may involve part or all of the esophagus; other structures (part of the stomach, lymph nodes or other parts of affected organs may be removed).
Radiation therapy uses high energy rays focused to kill cancer cells; it is often used together with chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells; it is often used together with radiation and/or surgery and often requires cycles or repeated doses of drugs.
In general, patients are encouraged to get a second opinion about their diagnosis and treatment for esophageal cancer.
Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common type of cancer and
causes 12,000 deaths per year in the U.S. (2% of all cancer
deaths). One type of esophageal cancer, adenocarcinoma, accounts for 50% of esophageal cancers and occurs primarily in Caucasian men.