26Feb

Esophageal cancer - the first symptoms and treatment

According to modern medical statistics, malignant tumors of the esophagus occupy the sixth place among all localizations of tumors in frequency in men and the ninth in women. People are mostly sick of mature and old age.

Causes of a tumor

Contents of

  • 1 Causes of a tumor
  • 2 Symptoms and signs of cancer
  • 3 Stages of
  • 4 Treatment of
  • 5 Early cancer of the esophagus

Unfortunately, the first signs of a pathology often go unnoticed or are detected already in the late stages of the disease that lasts for a long timehidden form. This greatly burdens the prognosis and treatment.

The exact cause of esophageal cancer has not been established to date, but there are risk factors that increase the chance of developing such a malignant tumor:

  • genetic predisposition;
  • long-term experience of the smoker;
  • alcohol abuse;
  • food with carcinogens;
  • addiction to spicy, marinated food;
  • reception is very hot food;
  • burns and other injuries of the esophagus;
  • achalasia of the esophagus and other developmental defects of this organ;
  • gastroesophageal reflux;
  • esophagitis;
  • Barrett's esophagus.

Symptoms and signs of cancer

symptoms of esophageal cancer Usually the first symptoms of tumors of the esophagus depend on its location and species. Most often develop squamous cell carcinoma( from the cells of the epithelium, which lining the mucous membrane of the organ from the inside) or adenocarcinoma( neoplasm from the glandular elements of the esophagus).The tumor can grow inside the esophagus( exophytic form) or infiltrate the body walls without overlapping the lumen( endophytic form).

Naturally, the first variant can be detected much earlier, since the neoplasm narrows the lumen of the esophagus, causing a number of specific symptoms, and the endophytic form, meanwhile, is asymptomatic. In most cases, the cancer develops in the middle and lower third of the esophagus, the upper part accounting for only 10%.

Signs of esophageal cancer:

  • discomfort during meals( initially solid, and then liquid);
  • loss of appetite;
  • weight loss;
  • general weakness and chronic fatigue;
  • development of dysphagia - difficulty in swallowing food;
  • pain when trying to swallow something;
  • burping food and vomiting;
  • increased salivation;
  • hoarseness of voice;
  • is an unpleasant putrefactive odor from the mouth;
  • frequent pneumonia;
  • edema of the upper torso;
  • shortness of breath;
  • cough during meals;
  • bleeding from the mouth.

Unfortunately, the course of the disease is very rapid, and given the late diagnosis due to lack of early signs, the forecast is unfavorable. Answer to the question how many live such patients are difficult, but as a rule, without treatment the lethal end comes 4-5 months after the diagnosis.

By the time the disease is detected, approximately 75% of patients already have distant metastases that make radical treatment impossible. Most often, malignant tumors of the esophagus metastasize into cervical, supraclavicular, mediastinal, retroperitoneal lymph nodes, into the liver, lung tissue, bones, kidneys and brain.

Stages of

There are 4 clinical stages of esophageal cancer:

  • a tumor of the 1st stage is implanted in the submucosa, but does not penetrate into the muscular plate of the esophagus; there are no regional and distant metastases, the patient complains of nothing, but with endoscopy, formation is clearly visible;
  • , the neoplasm of stage 2 in most cases is asymptomatic, but some patients may experience discomfort when swallowing, the tumor can penetrate all layers of the esophagus wall, but does not spread to neighboring organs, metastases may occur to regional lymph nodes remote from Met;
  • Stage 3 esophagus is diagnosed when the tumor spreads to the esophagus-adjacent organs, regional metastases occur, but are not recorded distant, such patients have pronounced complaints from the esophagus and general health;
  • esophageal cancer 4 degree is diagnosed in the presence of metastases in distant organs, regardless of whether they are present in regional lymph nodes and the size of the underlying tumor.

Treatment of

There are several methods for treating esophageal tumors: surgery to remove, radiation therapy, the use of chemotherapy drugs, biological drugs. They can be used either individually or in combination. The scheme of treatment completely depends on the type, stage of the tumor, the patient's condition, his desire.

The operation can be performed both with a curative( radical removal of the neoplasm) and with a palliative purpose( the imposition of gastrostomy with complete obstruction of the esophagus).

Radiation therapy is most often remotely, prescribed by courses before or after surgery, and sometimes on time in the last( intraoperative irradiation).

Chemotherapy is used after removal of the tumor to prevent relapse or with a palliative purpose, when the operation can not be performed.

Early esophageal cancer

Early diagnosis of esophageal cancer is possible, but for this it is necessary to perform an endoscopic examination of the organ on a regular basis. Esophagoscopy can detect the problem long before its clinical manifestations, which will significantly increase the chances of survival.



Since there are no early symptoms of esophageal neoplasm, the only chance to establish the disease at an early stage is preventive medical examinations. For example, in countries with an increased incidence of this form of cancer, esophagoscopy is one of the mandatory medical examinations for all medical examinations. The 5-year survival rate for the diagnosis at stage 1 is 90%, 2 - 50%, 3-10%, the prognosis at stage 4 is unfavorable.