Esophageal cancer forms in the tissues of the lining of the esophagus, the tube connecting the throat to the stomach at the beginning of the digestive system.
There are two types of esophageal cancer:
- Adenocarcinoma - found at the lower part of the esophagus.
- Squamous cell carcinoma - found in the upper part of the esophagus.
Esophageal cancer usually does not show symptoms, some late stage symptoms may include:
- Difficulty swallowing.
- Pain when swallowing.
- Pain in the throat, chest or back.
- Weight loss.
- Hoarse throat.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, consult your Primary Care Physician.
Risk Factors & Prevention
You are at a greater risk for esophageal cancer if you:
- Are over the age of 40.
- Are male.
- Are African American.
- Smoke or are exposed to smoke.
- Drink alcohol heavily.
- Drink very hot liquids frequently.
- Consume a diet low in fruits and vegetables.
- Are overweight.
- Have heartburn or Barrett esophagus (acid reflux).
The causes of esophageal cancer are unknown. You can reduce your risk for esophageal cancer by not smoking or drinking alcohol, by having a good diet, and by getting plenty of exercise.