Esophageal cancer is a disease in which malignant cells form in the esophagus. Risk factors of cancer of the esophagus include smoking, heavy alcohol use, Barrett's esophagus, being male and being over age 60. Severe weight loss, vomiting, hoarseness, coughing up blood, painful swallowing, and pain in the throat or back are symptoms. Treatment depends upon the size, location and staging of the cancer and the health of the patient. Read more: Esophageal Cancer Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Top 10 Cancers Quiz
Take this quiz to learn the causes of cancer. Get the facts about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for the world's most...
Picture of Esophagus
The esophagus is a muscular tube connecting the throat (pharynx) with the stomach. See a picture of the Esophagus and learn more...
Cancer-Fighting Foods in Pictures: Resveratrol, Green Tea, and More
Experts have praised certain foods for their ability to reduce cancer risks. Learn which foods and eating strategies may help...
Signs of Cancer in Men: Could it Be Cancer?
See pictures of which 15 cancer symptoms men ignore such as skin changes, difficulty swallowing, rapid weight loss, a breast...
Signs of Cancer in Women: Symptoms You Can't Ignore
Cancer symptoms can surprise women if they don't know what to watch out for. 15 cancer symptoms women ignore such as weight loss,...
Understanding Cancer: Metastasis, Stages of Cancer, and More
Learn the basics about cancer including types, causes, how it spreads, symptoms and signs, stages and treatment options. Read...
Related Disease Conditions
Cancer Risk Factors
Though it's difficult to say why some people develop cancer while others don't, research shows that certain risk factors increase a person's odds of developing cancer. These risk factors include growing older, family history of cancer, diet, alcohol and tobacco use, and exposure to sunlight, ionizing radiation, certain chemicals, and some viruses and bacteria.
Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin dependent). Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. Treatment of diabetes depends on the type.
GERD (Acid Reflux, Heartburn)
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is a condition in which the acidified liquid contents of the stomach backs up into the esophagus. The symptoms of uncomplicated GERD are: heartburn, regurgitation, and nausea. Effective treatment is available for most patients with GERD.
Reflux Laryngitis (Diet, Home Remedies, Medicine)
Reflux laryngitis is caused by acid refluxing back up through the esophagus and voice box. Reflux laryngitis causes irritation and inflammation of the lining of the esophagus, larynx, and throat; and can lead to symptoms, signs, and other problems like esophagitis, sinusitis, strictures, throat clearing, swallowing problems, asthma, chronic cough, and growths on the vocal cords. Typical symptoms of reflux laryngitis include heartburn, hoarseness, or a sensation of a foreign body in the throat. Reflux laryngitis can be treated with diet chanes, OTC medication, prescription medication, and lifestyle changes.
Obesity is the state of being well above one's normal weight. A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20% over their ideal weight. That ideal weight must take into account the person's height, age, sex, and build.
Chronic cough is a cough that does not go away and is generally a symptom of another disorder such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, sinus infection, cigarette smoking, GERD, postnasal drip, bronchitis, pneumonia, medications, and less frequently tumors or other lung disease. Chronic cough treatment is based on the cause, but may be soothed natural and home remedies.
Schatzki Ring (Schatzki's) Causes, Symptoms, and Natural Treatments
Schatzki (Schatzki's) ring, is a narrow ring of tissue located just above the junction of the esophagus and stomach. The cause of Schatzki ring is not clearly known, however, some doctors believe they are caused by long term acid reflux. The symptoms of a Schatzki ring is primarily poorly chewed food that stays in chunks becoming stuck in the esophagus. Diagnosis of Schatzki's ring is barium x-ray or endoscopy. Treatment is generally a procedure to stretch or fracture the rings.
Barrett's esophagus occurs as a complication of chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), primarily in white males. GERD refers to the reflux of acidic fluid from the stomach into the esophagus (the swallowing tube), and is classically associated with heartburn. Learn the symptoms, causes, and treatments for Barrett's esophagus.
Swallowing Problems (Dysphagia)
Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing, swallowing problems. Dysphagia is due to problems in nerve or muscle control. It is common, for example, after a stroke. Dysphagia compromises nutrition and hydration and may lead to aspiration pneumonia and dehydration.
Esophageal achalasia is a disease of the esophagus that mainly affects young adults. Achalasia makes it difficult to swallow, can cause chest pain, and may lead to regurgitation. Here we discuss achalasia symptoms, surgery, treatment, and causes. Learn the definition of achalasia and what you can do to treat the disease.
Alcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. It can cause myriad health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, birth defects, heart disease, stroke, psychological problems, and dementia. Counseling and a few medications can be effective for alcoholism treatment.
Smoking (How to Quit Smoking)
Smoking is an addiction. More than 430,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. from smoking related illnesses. Secondhand smoke or "passive smoke" also harm family members, coworkers, and others around smokers. There are a number of techniques available to assist people who want to quit smoking.
Asbestos (Exposure Dangers, Testing, Symptoms)
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that is found in soil and rock. Asbestos exposure occurs when asbestos fibers are disturbed and released into the air then and inhaled. Inhaling asbestos fibers causes three lung diseases; asbestosis, lung cancer, and noncancerous lung disease. In asbestosis, the asbestos fibers scar the lungs. Asbestosis and lung cancer have the same symptoms of cough and shortness of breath.Asbestosis progresses slowly, frequently even 20 to 40 years after asbestos exposure. Asbestos exposure include can come from a variety of products, for example, drinking water due to the decay of asbestos cement in water mains and erosion of natural deposits (which increases your risk of developing benign intestinal polyps), insulation, vinyl floor tiles, some paints and patching compounds, oil and coal furnaces and doors, heat-resistant fabrics, and automobiles brakes and clutches. Some uses of asbestos are banned; however, most are not. Examples of products banned from using asbestos are commercial, corrugated, and specialty paper, flooring felt, and artificial fireplace embers that contain asbestos. Examples of products not banned from using asbestos include vinyl flooring, clothing, roof and non-roof coatings, friction materials, and some car components.Cancers of the larynx, throat, kidney, esophagusand gallbladder have been linked to asbestos exposure. Treatment is dependent upon the type of condition related to asbestos exposure.
Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
Disease Prevention in Men
Disease prevention in men includes routine screening tests that are part of basic prevention medicine. Take an active role in your own health care and discuss screening tests with your doctor early in life. Age of screening and timing of screening depends upon the condition being assessed. Diseases men should take steps to prevent include high blood pressure (hypertension), hypercholesterolemia, type II diabetes mellitus, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), colon cancer and colon polyps, prostate cancer, glaucoma, melanoma and other skin cancer, and bladder cancer.
Certain behavioral, lifestyle, and environmental factors contribute to cancer. Cancer prevention involves modifying these factors to decrease cancer risk. Tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical inactivity, inadequate fruit and vegetable intake, and obesity increase the risk of certain cancers. Vaccines, genetic testing, and cancer screening also play a role in cancer prevention.
The Digestion Process (Parts, Organs, and Functions)
Digestion is the complex process of turning the food you eat into the energy you need to survive. The digestive process also involves creating waste to be eliminated, and is made of a series of muscles that coordinate the movement of food. Learn more about digestion and the body parts that make it possible, including the mouth, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, anus, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.
Esophagitis (Pain, Symptoms, Causes, Grades, and Cure)
Esophagitis is caused by an infection or irritation of the esophagus. Infections that cause esophagitis include candida yeast infection of the esophagus as well as herpes. Signs and symptoms of esophagitis include cough, mouth sores, chest pain, bad breath, sore throat, heartburn, and difficulty swallowing. Treatment of esophagitis includes diet, lifestyle changes, and medication depending upon the cause.
Diabetes Treatment (Type 1 and Type 2 Medications and Diet)
The major goal in treating diabetes is controlling elevated blood sugar without causing abnormally low levels of blood sugar. Type 1 diabetes is treated with: insulin, exercise, and a diabetic diet. Type 2 diabetes is first treated with: weight reduction, a diabetic diet, and exercise. When these measures fail to control the elevated blood sugar, oral medications are used. If oral medications are still insufficient, insulin medications are considered.
Chest pain is a common complaint by a patient in the ER. Causes of chest pain include broken or bruised ribs, pleurisy, pneumothorax, shingles, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, angina, heart attack, costochondritis, pericarditis, aorta or aortic dissection, and reflux esophagitis. Diagnosis and treatment of chest pain depends upon the cause and clinical presentation of the patient's chest pain.
Chewing Tobacco (Smokeless Tobacco, Snuff)
People absorb more nicotine into their systems by chewing tobacco (snuff or smokeless tobacco) than by smoking a cigarette. Chewing tobacco or snuff can cause cancers, poor oral health (gum disease and tooth decay), infertility, pregnancy complications, and nicotine addiction. Nicotine addiction can be overcome with available prescription drugs and other treatment programs.
Tumor grade is a system used to classify cancer cells in how likely the tumor is to grow and how abnormal they look under a microscope. Tumor grade is not the same as tumor stage. A biopsy is taken to determine if the tumor is benign (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
Heartburn is a burning sensation experienced from acid reflux (GERD). Symptoms of heartburn include chest pain, burning in the throat, difficulty swallowing, the feeling of food sticking in the throat, and a burning feeling in the chest. Causes of heartburn include dietary habits, lifestyle habits, and medical causes. Treatments for heartburn include lifestyle changes, OTC medication,prescription medication, and surgery.
Gastroesophageal Junction Adenocarcinoma
Gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma is cancer that forms in the area where the esophagus joins the stomach. Having GERD and Barrett's esophagus increases one's odds of developing gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma. Symptoms and signs of GE junction adenocarcinoma include dysphagia, weight loss, black stool, cough, nausea, and vomiting. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.
Local ResourcesFind a local Oncologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Screening Tests for Cancer
- CT Scan (Computerized Tomography)
- Chest X-Ray
- Endoscopy (EGD) Procedure
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan)
- Upper GI Series (Barium Swallow)
- Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG)
- Endoscopic Ultrasound
- Radiation Therapy
- Photodynamic Therapy
- Cancer FAQs
- Chest Pain: Heart, Esophagus, or ?
- Esophageal Cancer Linked to Heartburn
- GERD Best treatment for Barrett Esophagus?
- Coping with a Bad Disease - Community Counts
- Doctors Answer Digestion Questions
- Complementary and Alternative Cancer Treatments
- Weight Gain, Obesity & Cancer Risk
- 10 Cancer Symptoms That Men Ignore
- Very Hot Beverages May Cause Esophageal Cancer
Medications & Supplements
Prevention & Wellness
- Tighter Alcohol Laws Might Help Curb Cancer
- Hot Tea May Boost Esophageal Cancer Risk
- Hot Tea Linked to Esophageal Cancer Risk
- Quick Test Could Spot Precursor to Esophageal Cancer
- Gum Disease May Be Linked to Cancer Risk in Older Women
- Another Obesity Downside: Higher Esophageal Cancer Risk
- Can Breath Test Detect Stomach Cancers Earlier?
- Excess Weight Tied to Higher Risk for Many Cancers, Experts Say
- Alcohol, Obesity Could Raise Esophageal Cancer Risk
- HIV Patients Less Likely to Get Treatment for Cancer: Study
- Exercise May Cut Risk of 13 Cancers, Study Suggests
- Doctors Report on Success of Throat Reconstruction
- Poorer Black Patients Have Lower Survival From Esophageal Cancer
- Unusual Capsule Could Help Spot Esophagus Cancer
- Taller People May Have Lower Risk of Esophageal Cancer: Study
- Daily Aspirin May Help Prevent Cancer, Study Shows
- 1 in 10 Deaths Among Adults Tied to Alcohol: CDC
- Osteoporosis Drugs' Long-Term Use Needs More Research: FDA
- Smoking, Drinking Combo Raises Odds for Esophageal Cancer
- Treatment May Prevent Esophagus Condition From Progressing to Cancer
- Overweight Teen Years Tied to Later Cancer Risk
- Exercise May Lower Risk of Esophageal Cancer
- HPV May Also Raise Risk of Throat Cancer
- Scientists Explore How Aspirin May Guard Against Cancer
- Fried Foods May Boost Prostate Cancer Risk, Study Says
- New Guidelines Urge Limiting Endoscopy for GERD
- Avoiding Alcohol May Cut Risk for Esophageal Cancer
- New Clues to How Alcohol May Boost Cancer Risk
- Untreated Heartburn May Raise Risk for Esophageal Cancer, Study Says
- Pre-op Treatments Boost Survival for Esophageal Cancer Patients: Study
- Chronic Heartburn May Boost Risk for Esophageal Cancer
- Screening for Other Health Problems May Aid COPD Survival
- Less-Invasive Surgery for Esophageal Cancer Might Be Safer
- Esophageal Cancer Surgery Can Leave Lingering Health Problems, Study Says
- Smoking May Up Cancer Risk in Barrett's Esophagus Patients
- Blood Test Shows Promise in Spotting Pancreatic Cancers Early
- From Bad to Better: U.S. Cancer Rates Continue to Drop
- Chronic Heartburn a Growing Problem in U.S.
- As Obesity Rises, More Suffer From Acid Reflux
- Men, Women May Experience Acid Reflux Differently
- Barrett's Esophagus May Be Less Risky Than Thought
- Osteoporosis Drugs' Safety Subject of FDA Panel
- Strawberries May Help Prevent Esophageal Cancer
- For Most, Chronic Heartburn Not a Big Risk for Esophageal Cancer
- Aspirin Cuts Death Rate From Several Common Cancers
- Osteoporosis Drugs May Be Linked to Cancer Risk
- No Significant Esophageal Cancer Risk From Osteoporosis Drug: Study
- Obese Kids Have More Reflux Disease
- Cancer Caregivers Share Patient Stresses
- Exercise Recommended for Cancer Patients
- Cancer Deaths Down Since 'War on Cancer'
- Anticancer Effects of Aspirin: FAQ
- Alzheimer's Drug Might Help Prevent Esophageal Cancer
- New Therapy Spares Organ in Early Esophageal Cancer
- Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
- New Therapy Freezes Out Esophageal Cancers
- Carb Intake, Obesity Tied to Rise in Esophageal Cancers