How Harmful Is The Rare Esophageal Cancer To Your Body?

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How Harmful Is The Rare Esophageal Cancer To Your Body?

How Harmful Is The Rare Esophageal Cancer To Your Body?

When it comes to types of cancer, esophageal cancer is rarely discussed. It is a rare disease that affects the tissues of your food pipe (esophagus). While being rare, the cancer is extremely dangerous. One of the reasons for this is the fact that it isn’t diagnosed earlier. Most esophageal cancer patients tend to ignore the symptoms and attribute them to minor complications until they become severe.

If you or anyone in your family is experiencing issues related to the food pipe, make sure you seek medical help without any delay.

What Exactly Is Esophageal Cancer?

Esophageal cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the esophagus, which is the muscular tube connecting the throat to the stomach. When cancer cells begin to grow and divide uncontrollably in the lining of the esophagus, it can lead to the formation of a tumor.

Esophageal cancer is a serious condition, and unfortunately, it is often diagnosed in later stages when the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. This makes it difficult to treat and reduces the chances of a favorable outcome.

There are two main types of esophageal cancer: adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma typically occurs in the lower part of the esophagus and is often associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and obesity. Squamous cell carcinoma, on the other hand, typically occurs in the upper part of the esophagus and is often associated with smoking and heavy alcohol consumption.

Common esophageal cancer treatment procedures can include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. The choice of treatment will depend on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient's overall health and preferences. Like with many types of cancer, early detection is key to improving the chances of a favorable outcome, so it is important to see a doctor if you experience any symptoms.

How To Detect Esophageal Cancer?

As mentioned earlier, esophageal cancer is difficult to be detected at an early stage. However, being aware of your food pipe’s functionality and keeping an eye on smaller complications can help you detect the cancer.

Here are a few common esophageal cancer symptoms that can help you detect the disease:

Difficulty Swallowing

Also known as dysphagia, this is the most common symptom of esophageal cancer. You may feel like food or liquids are getting stuck in your throat or chest or that it takes longer to swallow than usual. Over time, dysphagia may become more severe, and you may experience pain when swallowing.

Pain/Discomfort In The Chest

You may also experience pain or discomfort in the chest or upper abdomen, which can be a sign that esophageal cancer has already spread to nearby tissues or organs.

Unexplained Weight Loss

Esophageal cancer can make you lose weight without trying, which can be a sign that the cancer is affecting your ability to digest food properly.

Persistent Cough or A Hoarse Voice

Esophageal cancer patients may experience a chronic cough or develop a hoarse voice. This is often a sign of the cancer spreading to the trachea or larynx.

Indigestion or Heartburn

Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), such as heartburn, acid reflux, or regurgitation, are common in patients suffering from esophageal cancer. These symptoms should not be ignored as they can be a sign that the cancer is affecting the lower part of the esophagus.

Fatigue

Esophageal cancer can make you feel tired or weak. This is because the cancer starts affecting your body's ability to produce red blood cells, making it weak and easily exhausted.

Treatment Options For Esophageal Cancer

The esophageal cancer treatment options depend on multiple factors, including the stage and location of the cancer, the overall health of the patient, and their personal preferences. After a thorough diagnosis, your doctor will recommend the procedure(s) that best suits your condition.

Here are some of the most common treatment options for esophageal cancer:

Surgery

Surgery is often the primary treatment for early-stage esophageal cancer. Here, the surgeon removes all or part of the esophagus and nearby lymph nodes. Depending on the extent of the surgery, the remaining portion of the esophagus may be reconnected to the stomach, or a portion of the intestine may be used to replace the esophagus.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is an esophageal cancer treatment procedure involving the use of specific drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. It is often used in combination with surgery or radiation therapy to help shrink the tumor before surgery or to help kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery. Chemotherapy can also be used as the primary treatment for advanced-stage esophageal cancer.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy (or radiotherapy) involves the use of high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. Doctors may use it alone or in combination with chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before surgery or to help kill any remaining cancer cells after surgery. Radiation therapy can also be used to relieve symptoms such as difficulty swallowing in patients suffering from relevant complications in their esophagus.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is a treatment procedure that uses drugs to help the immune system identify and attack cancer cells. As compared to other esophageal cancer treatment procedures, this is a newer option and is often used in combination with chemotherapy.

Palliative Care

Finally, palliative care deals with providing relief from symptoms such as pain, difficulty swallowing, and fatigue rather than treating the cancer itself. It is often used in conjunction with other treatments, especially in advanced-stage esophageal cancer to improve the patient’s quality of life.

The Final Word

The rare esophageal cancer can prove to be pretty harmful to your body, leading to life-threatening implications. If you experience prolonged issues with your food pipe, never make the mistake of ignoring them and seek medical help as soon as possible. Diagnosing esophageal cancer at an early stage can make your recovery journey much safer and smoother. It is always advisable to eliminate doubts and consult a trusted oncologist when it comes to diseases as serious as esophageal cancer.

 

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