Carcinoma Esophagus

What is Carcinoma Esophagus?

Carcinoma Esophagus is the cancer of esophageal tube. Esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth through the throat to the stomach, and is also known as the food pipe. It carries food down the throat to the stomach. Esophageal cancer starts developing from cells present in the inner lining of the tube. The disease is more common among men as compared to women. Out of many factors which may cause esophageal cancer, smoking and acid refluxes are the most harmful. Early treatment can stop the disease from spreading further and bring it under control.


Early stages of cancer typically have no symptoms. However, following are the most common symptoms that are visible in the later stages:

  • Difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia).
  • Weight loss.
  • Chest pain and discomfort along with burning sensation.
  • Coughing.
  • Indigestion.
  • Heartburn.


The exact underlying cause of esophageal cancer is not clear. The disease develops when the cells of the esophagus tube corrupts their own DNA. The corrupted cells then grow and multiply rapidly without control, and start accumulating forming a tumour. The structure may grow and hamper other body parts also. The following are some factors that are associated with the disease:

  • Alcohol consumption and smoking.
  • Bile refluxes and gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Obesity.
  • Precancerous cell changes (barrett's esophagus).
  • Radiation therapy for treatment of chest.


Some risks of carcinoma esophagus are:

  • Tracheo-esophageal fistulas.
  • Weight loss.
  • Metastases.
  • Anaemia.
  • Pneumonia.



Following are some measures that could be followed to prevent carcinoma esophagus:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating fruit and vegetable rich diet.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Reduce alcohol intake.
  • Control gastroesophageal reflux diseases (GERD).

How is it diagnosed?

Carcinoma esophagus can only be done with the help of a tube, which when inserted beams off light for an easy view. Our doctor at Medanta might recommend either endoscopy or biopsy for examining th...

How is it treated?

Esophageal cancer runs through 4 stages, and treatment for every patient are based on their stage of advancement.  


  • Surgery

    The first step for stage 1, 2 and 3 is surgery. The doctor carefully removes the tumours along with affected lymph nodes. However, in some cases, if the cancer has spread further, a part of the esophagus may have to be removed. Pulling the stomach up, then restores the connectivity of the tube to the stomach.

  • Radiation therapy

    Once the patient has recovered fully after the surgery, Chemotherapy or radiotherapy can be recommended. The goal of these treatments is to kill any kind of remaining cancerous cell. Though the side-effects of these therapies are painful, the treatment is essential to avoid re-growth of cancer.

When do I contact the doctor?

Any previous history or diagnosis of Barrett’s esophagus puts the individual at greater risk of developing chronic cancer due to acid refluxes. Persistent signs and symptoms should always be discussed and consulted with the doctor.

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