Medical Definition of Esophageal Adenocarcinoma

Reviewed on 2/10/2021

Esophageal adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer (malignant tumor) that begins in the cells of the food tube (esophagus). An adenocarcinoma is a cancer that develops in gland-forming cells, and an adenocarcinoma of the esophagus is most common in the lower portion of the esophagus, near the stomach. Esophageal cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide.

Risk factors for cancer of the esophagus include smoking, obesity, gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), alcohol consumption, drinking very hot liquids on a regular basis, radiation treatment to the chest, and bile reflux. While early esophageal cancer typically does not cause signs and symptoms, as the disease progresses it may cause difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), unintentional weight loss, chest burning or pressure, cough, hoarseness, heartburn, or indigestion.



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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.