Esophageal Cancer - Types

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Types of Esophageal Cancer

In 2013, about 18,000 Americans will be diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

The two most common types are named for how the cancer cells look under a microscope:

  • AC: About 12,000 Americans will be diagnosed with AC (adenocarcinoma) of the esophagus in 2013. In the United States, AC is the most common type of esophageal cancer. Usually, AC tumors are found in the lower part of the esophagus, near the stomach. AC of the esophagus may be related to having acid reflux (the backward flow of stomach acid), having a disease of the lower esophagus known as Barrett esophagus, or being obese.
  • SCC: About 6,000 Americans will be diagnosed with SCC (squamous cell carcinoma) of the esophagus in 2013. In other parts of the world, SCC is the most common type of esophageal cancer. Usually, SCC tumors are found in the upper part of the esophagus. SCC of the esophagus may be related to being a heavy drinker of alcohol or smoking tobacco.

If you smoke, talk with an expert about quitting. It's never too late to quit. Quitting can help cancer treatments work better. It may also reduce the chance of getting another cancer.

To get help with quitting smoking...

  • Go online to
  • Call NCI's Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848).
  • Sign up for the free mobile service SmokefreeTXT to get tips and encouragement to quit. To sign up, text the word QUIT to IQUIT (47848) from your mobile phone. Or, go to Signup.aspx
Return to Esophageal Cancer

See what others are saying

Comment from: Mother, 19-24 Male (Caregiver) Published: April 11

My 24 year old son passed away with cancer of the esophagus, could the new drug ZL105 have cured this cancer? He had been going to the doctors and hospital on many occasions with symptoms of heartburn and finding it difficult to eat food and constant pain in his back, but he was always told this was indigestion. My son was eventually given a scan and was told he was at stage 4. He passed away 7 weeks and 2 days later.

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Comment from: Amal, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 02

I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer of the esophagus in January 2013. Doctor tried to operate but was not successful as it had spread more than what the scans and other reports indicated. Thereafter I had chemotherapy for one full year which was terrible. I was more dead than alive. In January this year 2014, I underwent more tests, PET scan and endoscopy, however the doctor was not convinced that the operation would be a success. From January of 2014 to date I decided that I will not take any form of medication simply to extend life at the expense of quality of life. I have pain in my stomach but have managed that pain and fatigue with no pain killers and still work a 5 and a half day week for 8 hours a day. I am exhausted when I reach home and rest a bit but back on my feet. To my fellow patients all that I can say is that one needs to be mentally strong to beat this and while you are alive, concentrate on living and not worry about dying and the suffering.

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