When cancer cells grow in your oesophagus it causes Oesophageal Cancer. Oesophagus is a food pipe which joins the stomach with the throat. Oesophagus helps to pass the food from mouth to stomach. The cancer grows at the inner area of the oesophagus and it can grow to the other areas of oesophagus. Other parts of your body can get affected by this disease.

Oesophageal cancer can be divided into two types. One is the Squamous cell carcinoma and the other one is adenocarcinoma. The Squamous grows in the outer areas and can also affect the whole oesophagus. The other one is Adenocarcinoma. It develops in the area of the oesophagus where the mucus secreting glands are available. It grows mainly in the lower part of your oesophagus.


In the earlier stage you will not get any indication of this disease. But when it is well grown you will be able to notice some symptoms which are:

1. Swallowing difficulties

2. Losing weight

3. Chest pain

4. Wheezing

5. Roughness

6. Burning sensation in the chest

7. Hyperacidity

How Is Oesophageal Cancer Diagnosed?

To diagnose oesophageal cancer, your doctor will review your symptoms, medical history, and examine you. In addition, he or she may order certain blood tests and X-rays.

To detect your disease your doctor will examine you by your medical history and other details. He may go for some other checks also including X-rays and blood tests. The tests are as follows:

Barium Swallow: In this test you will get a drink which will coat your oesophagus so that the doctor can view the problems of the oesophagus during X-ray.

Endoscopy: It is a test by a tube. Here, the doctor inserts a skinny and light weighted tube inside your throat and into the oesophagus. Then the doctor can see the inner condition of the digestive tract.

Biopsy: It is a test wherein the tissues of the affected area are taken and checked under a microscope to check cancer.

Some other tests include CT (computed tomography) scans, (PET) positron emission tomography scan, laparoscopy and thoracoscopy. These tests are done to know the stage of your cancer.


This disease can be cured if the doctor can diagnose it at the early stage. But this disease is always caught at the final stage when the whole oesophagus is infected and goes beyond treatment.

The treatment of cancer depends on the stage and the health condition of the patient. Some of the factors are:

  • One option is surgery where the doctor removes some parts of the oesophagus.

  • Another option is Radiation therapy where the cancer cells are killed with radiation.

  • Chemotherapy: In this therapy the patient is treated with strong and potent drugs.

  • In Photodynamic therapy the initial cancer cells are destroyed through laser light.

  • In Electrocoagulation the doctor uses electric current to kill the cancer cells.

  • Endoscopic mucosal resection is done to remove the inner layer of the oesophagus for the pre-cancer patients.

  • Radiofrequency ablation is done through local anaesthesia and slight sedation for initial staged cancer patients.

  • Your doctor may suggest you to take initiatives in clinical trials to know the usage of new drugs and treatments.

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Billroth Hospitals, 43,
Lakshmi Talkies Road,
Shenoy Nagar,
Tamil Nadu, India.

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