Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer happens when radical cells in the esophagus develop into cancerous cells. For clarification purposes, the esophagus is the tube that runs from your throat to your stomach. In the case of esophageal cancer, the cancer typically begins within the inner layer of the esophagus and can spread from there to other layers and other parts of the body as well. This is one of the types of cancer that is hard to diagnose in the early stages, for once symptoms clearly present themselves the cancer is often in more advanced stages.

Some of the common symptoms that might be related to esophageal cancer include problems such as:

  • Pain and difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Heartburn or indigestion
  • Weight loss
  • Coughing

As with most types of cancer, the earlier esophageal cancer is diagnosed and treatment begins, the better the chances for successful treatment. Treatment of this type of cancer typically depends upon the stage of the disease. Stage 0 is the easiest stage to treat and can be successful with surgery to remove the affect portions of the esophagus. This prevents the spread of the disease.

If caught early enough, surgery can be successful against esophageal cancer. Stage I, II and III are treated with a combination of surgery, chemotherapy drugs and radiation.

Stage IV is end stage esophageal cancer where the treatment focuses on making the patient comfortable and relieving pain.

Surgery is typically the first of the treatment options tried when addressing esophageal cancer. General surgery physicians in Ft. Meyers, Florida, can assist patients with their treatment options and help them decide what method of treatment will bring about the highest likelihood of success. Fighting esophageal cancer is a battle, to be sure, yet it is a battle that can be won if the disease is caught in the early stages.