Esophageal Cancer (Cancer of the Esophagus)

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    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.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    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.

View Cancer 101 Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideHealthy Eating Pictures Slideshow: Super Steps to Boost Digestive Health

Healthy Eating Pictures Slideshow: Super Steps to Boost Digestive Health

What is the esophagus?

The esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach, allowing food and liquid to be swallowed. There are muscles that encircle the esophagus that allow it to contract and push food and liquid toward the stomach. When cancer cells develop in the tissues of this muscular tube, it is defined as esophageal cancer.

What is esophageal cancer?

Esophageal cancer describes the disease where cells that line the esophagus change or mutate and become malignant. These cells grow out of control and form a tumor.

There are two main types of esophageal cancer:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma affects the squamous cells and usually develops within the middle third of the esophagus. Squamous cells describe thin, flat cells that line the inner surface of the mid-portion of the esophagus.
  • Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus affects the lower third of the esophagus. This type of cancer arises from the glandular cells found in that area of the esophagus.

There are more rare forms of cancer that affect the esophagus, including lymphoma, malignant melanoma, sarcoma, choriocarcinoma, and small cell cancer.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/6/2015
VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Esophageal Cancer - Symptoms and Signs

    What were the symptoms and signs you experienced with esophageal cancer?

    Post View 36 Comments
  • Esophageal Cancer - Prognosis and Stage

    What is your esophageal cancer prognosis? What stage is your esophageal cancer?

    Post View 23 Comments
  • Esophageal Cancer - Types

    Do you or someone you know have adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus? Please share your story.

    Post View 11 Comments
  • Esophageal Cancer - Risk Factors

    Do you have any of the risk factors for esophageal cancer? What are they, and what are your concerns?

    Post View 2 Comments
  • Esophageal Cancer - Diagnosis

    What kinds of tests and exams led to a diagnosis of esophageal cancer?

    Post View 3 Comments
  • Esophageal Cancer - Treatment

    What kinds of treatment, including radiation or chemotherapy, did you receive for esophageal cancer?

    Post View 2 Comments
  • Esophageal Cancer - Surgery

    Please describe the surgical experience you or someone you know had for esophageal cancer.

    Post View 2 Comments
  • Esophageal Cancer - Doctors & Second Opinion

    How did you go about getting a second opinion for your esophageal cancer?

    Post View 1 Comment
  • Esophageal Cancer - Prognosis & Follow-Up Care

    What type of follow-up care did you receive for your esophageal cancer?

    Post View 1 Comment

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors