Esophageal Cancer - Types

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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.

Return to Esophageal Cancer

See what others are saying

Comment from: Bill, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: November 12

I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer of the esophagus in January 2014. I was lucky as the cancer was in situ and had not spread to other areas. Initially I was put on a neo-SCOPE trial which involved firstly chemotherapy then chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It was very hard and I felt very ill at times. However I knew the cancer was shrinking as I was able to eat again. I underwent major surgery in July which was successful. I am still having pain after eating and have now been prescribed Creon tablets which have helped with the pain but unfortunately have not cured it altogether.

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Comment from: Diane clay, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 25

My dad was diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer the Easter of 2013. He had delayed seeing a doctor for almost 11 months as he was so afraid. His first symptoms were pain on swallowing, firstly bread and food getting stuck, then meat would get stuck, and then it turned to all food by the time we got him to hospital. He couldn't swallow his own saliva and had lost four stone in weight. I knew my dad had cancer and short of physically dragging him to a doctor I had tried everything to get him seen. At first they thought they could operate and dad had three cycles of chemotherapy, but first in hospital and tube fed for three weeks. He had a stent put in so he could eat soft food. In September they went in to operate but had seen that the tumor had spread rapidly attached to lung, diaphragm and wrapped round aorta and grown over top of first stent. We were told dad had a few months, then his oncologist offered a different type of chemotherapy to hold the tumor and prolong his life. While he was taking this chemotherapy they discovered dad's tumor was a HER2 tumor and Herceptin, a drug mainly for breast cancer would block the cancer. We were told National Health Service wouldn't fund Herceptin so we were looking into paying for it privately when my dad collapsed and passed away at home. That was exactly a year after his diagnosis. We didn't have a post mortem done. My dad was such a character, a kind heart, he made me laugh so much and I'll never get over losing him. I just wished he would have gone sooner but I can understand how bad his fear was. Esophageal cancer is an evil disease.

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