Esophageal cancer
Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal Cancer: 3 Types, Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Staging, and Diagnosis

5/5 - (1 vote)

Esophageal cancer is the growth of malignant cells that occur in the esophagus. The esophagus is a channel that drains food from the mouth to the stomach.

Esophageal cancer can be experienced by everyone, but more men over the age of 40. These cancer cells usually originate from cells located in the inside of the esophagus. The sooner it is detected and get treatment, the better the treatment results will be.

Esophageal Cancer Types

Esophageal cancer is divided into several types, namely:

Squamous cell carcinoma

This type of cancer usually occurs in squamous cells located in the mucosal layer. Cancer cells are most common in the neck area (cervical esophagus) and the upper two-thirds of the chest cavity (upper and middle chest esophagus).


This type of cancer starts in the glandular cells that make mucus. Most often, adenocarcinoma occurs in the lower third of the esophagus.

In some conditions, Barrett’s esophageal glandular cells begin to replace squamous cells at the bottom of the esophagus causing adenocarcinoma.

Other types of esophageal cancer

In addition to this type of adenocarcinoma and squamous cells, there are also other types such as lymphoma, melanoma, and sarcoma that also attack the esophagus. However, this type of cancer is very rare.

Esophageal Cancer Symptoms

At the beginning of the appearance, esophageal cancer rarely causes symptoms. Symptoms usually only appear when the cancer reaches an advanced stage. Symptoms of esophageal cancer include:

  • Heartache.
  • Pain in the throat or behind the sternum.
  • Chronic coughing that occurs continuously.
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).
  • Drastic weight loss.
  • Bloody coughs or vomiting blood.
  • Bowel movement is bloody or dark in color.

Esophageal Cancer Causes

The specific cause of esophageal cancer is not yet known, but there are several groups of people who are susceptible to esophageal cancer.

Esophageal Cancer Risk Factors

Here are the risk factors for esophageal cancer:

  • Age: It generally occurs at the age of 50-70 years and it is rare in young people.
  • Gender: More happens in men.
  • Genetic abnormalities: The birth of mutations.
  • Ethnicity/race: White men are more often exposed.
  • Smo**king can increase the risk 3-7-times.
  • Excessive alco**hol consumption (associated with a 3 to 5-times increased risk).
  • Experiencing abnormalities in the esophagus, such as diverticulitis, injury, Barrett esophagus, achalasia (esophageal muscles can not relax).
  • Often consume very hot drinks.
  • History of head and neck cancer.
  • Obesity.
  • People with GERD disease (stomach acid rises up the esophagus).
  • Use of some drugs such β-blockers, anticholinergic agents, or aminophylline.
  • Radiation.
  • A diet high in red meat, fat, and processed foods.

Read also:
How To Cure Barrett’s Esophagus Naturally

Esophageal Cancer Staging

At least esophageal cancer can be divided into 5 stages (0-4) based on its severity.

Stadium 0

If there is a tumor abnormality on the surface of the esophagus, the abnormality is High Grade Dysplasia (HGD) or Carcinoma In Situ (CIS).

Stadium 1

Divided into 1A growth of esophageal cancer in submucous, 1B when the tumor has hit the muscle lining of the esophageal wall.

Stadium 2

It is divided into 2A when an esophageal tumor grows through the walls of the esophagus, 2B or has not penetrated the esophagus, but already hits 1-2 lymphoma around the esophagus, without spreading to other organs.

Stadium 3

When the cancer penetrates all the way to the pleural, pericardium and diaphragm.

Stadium 4

If esophageal cancer has spread deep into the liver and lungs.

Esophageal Cancer Diagnosis

To determine the diagnosis of esophageal cancer, the doctor will dig up information from the patient to find out the symptoms and the risk factors in a person. In addition, a physical examination will be focused on the neck and chest area.

In addition, there will be several supporting checks, such as:

  • Endoscopy
  • Imaging with swallowing barium examination, CT-Scan, MRI, PET Scan,
  • Biopsy sampling.

Last Updated on October 26, 2020 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team

Sharing is caring!