Esophageal cancer typically starts in the cells that line the esophagus. From there it may spread into the esophageal wall and to nearby lymph nodes or other tissues or organs.Usually cancer starts in the glandular epithelial cells or squamous cells that line the esophagus.
Cells from cancer can spread outside your esophagus either by breaking through the wall of the esophagus or by entering your bloodstream or lymph system and traveling elsewhere in your body.
.Esophageal cancer occurs when cells in the esophagus begin to grow abnormally. They do not respond to regular cell growth, division, and death signals like they are supposed to. They also don’t organize normally. Instead they grow into a tumor, which may extend into the open space inside your esophagus or break through underlying layers of your esophageal wall.
Here are 10 facts you may not know about it:
- The esophagus is a muscular tube that connects your mouth to your stomach.
- When cancer occurs, it starts in the inner layers of the esophagus and grows outward.
- Cancer of the esophagus can sometimes narrow the esophagus which may make it difficult to swallow or eat properly.
- Other signs and symptoms of cancer include heartburn, unexplained weight loss, hiccups, or a lasting cough.
- An esophagectomy, surgery to move all or part of the esophagus, is a common treatment for esophageal cancer.
- While recovering from surgery, cancer patients may not be able to eat by mouth and need a feeding tube to meet their nutritional needs.
- Barrett esophagus is a pre-cancerous condition in which the cells at the lower part of the esophagus have been replaced by abnormal cells due to damage by stomach acid from reflux. People with Barret esophagus are at higher risk for esophageal cancer.
- The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be about 16,910 new esophageal cancer diagnoses in 2016.
- Esophageal cancer is also 3-4 times more common in men than women.
- The esophageal cancer awareness ribbon is periwinkle.