Cancer develops in the food pipe when the cells lining the tube begin to grow and divide and form a tumour. They typically start in the innermost layer but can spread to the lymph nodes and neighbouring parts of the body. Oesophageal cancer can progress from 0-4 stages.
Difficulty in swallowing (the oesophagus narrows as the tumour grows)
Difficulty in swallowing can also cause lack of appetite and weight loss
Bloated stomach after food intake
Bone pain, chest pain or burning sensation in the chest
Hoarseness, hiccups or persistent cough
Bleeding in the food pipe or in vomit
Imaging techniques to determine the stage of cancer
Surgery: An oesophagectomy removes the tumour, part of the food pipe and the lymph nodes where the cancer could have spread.
Chemotherapy: Oesophageal is not usually diagnosed until it is sufficiently advanced to perform surgery. Hence treatment may start upon a suspicion with chemotherapy and continue if the cancer spreads.
Radiation Therapy: Radiation can be used along with chemotherapy before surgery to shrink it and make it easier to extract.