Oesophageal Cancer – Types, Symptoms, Prevention and more


What is Oesophageal cancer?  

The oesophagus is a long and hollow-shaped muscular tube that helps in moving food from the throat to the stomach. Oesophageal cancer occurs when a tumour forms in the lining of the oesophagus. The tumour formed gradually grows affecting the

muscles and tissues of the oesophagus.  

Oesophageal cancer

This condition aggravates slowly, and at one stage, it forms cancer which is specifically called Oesophageal cancer. Initially, the cancer cells develop on the internal lining of the oesophagus.

 Oesophageal cancer can occur in any region of the oesophagus. In general, men are more prone to Oesophageal cancer than women.

 Types of Oesophageal cancer

 Oesophageal cancer is classified into two types, namely Squamous cell carcinoma and Adenocarcinoma.

 Squamous cell carcinoma  

 Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the types of Oesophageal cancer where the cancer cells first attack the flat and thin cells of the oesophagus lining. It can be seen anywhere in the oesophagus but it is spotted mostly on the top or middle area of the oesophagus.


This type of cancer generally forms in the glandular cells of the oesophagus that are unanimously responsible for the production of mucus, a fluid excreted by the body. Adenocarcinoma is generally found in the lower area of the oesophagus.

 Common Symptoms of Oesophageal cancer

Difficulty swallowing  

 A person may experience difficulty while swallowing the food. Whenever a person swallows the food, he/she experiences pain and discomfort. Sometimes, they are unable to even chew and eat properly.

Unintentional weight loss

Unintentional weight loss is a sudden and unreasonable reduction in weight. This occurs under circumstances in which your body goes through unforeseen critical illness more than ever before.


Heartburn is a feeling of burning that causes discomfort in the chest that may extend to the throat and neck. It is also the irritation caused in the lining of the oesophagus.

 Chest pain  

When you are affected by Oesophageal cancer, you can feel chest burn and chest pain. These are initial stage symptoms that alarm the chance of Oesophageal cancer. So that you can diagnose and treat the condition earlier.


People with Oesophageal cancer often experience tiredness and fatigue. Fatigue can happen due to the following reasons:

  •  Unable to swallow easily
  •  Unanticipated weight loss

Chronic cough  

A person may experience chronic or persistent cough if cancer spreads beyond the area of the oesophagus.


Vomiting occurs when the lining and the tissues of the oesophagus affect badly. Hence, whenever a person swallows food, they may experience hiccups and a vomiting sensation.

Treatment of Oesophageal cancer

The treatment depends on the stage and severity of Oesophageal cancer. This cancer would have a great success rate if it was diagnosed and treated earlier. Surgery and effective treatments come into place only in the advanced stage of Oesophageal cancer. The following are some of the effective treatments given to cure Oesophageal cancer.

Radiation therapy

High-energy beams, such as X-rays, are used in radiation therapy to kill cancer cells. Radiation is usually delivered by equipment located outside of your body that directs powerful rays at your cancer cells. It can also be used to treat cancer inside the body.

Radiation therapy

It is most commonly used to kill cancer cells by directing a beam of radiation at the tumour. Radiation can be used to reduce tumours before or after surgery to destroy remaining cancer cells. A stent-like small tube is sometimes placed into the oesophagus during radiation treatments for Oesophageal cancer. This procedure is often called dilation or Intraluminal intubation.  

Radiation therapy is typically utilised as a part of a comprehensive treatment plan to alleviate swallowing difficulties.

People who have undergone radiation treatments may have some notable side effects like skin infections, sunburn, inflammation of pharynx and larynx and damage to the lung and heart.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is widely used for the treatment of Oesophageal cancer. Targeted therapy or targeted drug therapy is a way of treatment that concentrates on the genes, proteins or tissue environment that contribute to cancer growth and survival. This method of treatment stops cancer cells from growing and spreading, thereby minimal damage to healthy cells.

 Targeted therapy for Oesophageal cancer includes the following therapies:

 Anti-angiogenesis therapy

Anti-angiogenesis therapy is a treatment that inhibits the growth of new blood vessels. Anti-angiogenic therapy, such as ramucirumab, is a targeted therapy. It aims to halt the process of angiogenesis or the formation of new blood vessels.

Anti-angiogenesis therapies aim to ‘starve’ a tumour of nutrients given by blood vessels, which are required for it to develop and spread. Ramucirumab is usually given in combination with paclitaxel, a kind of chemotherapy, but it can also be used alone.  

 HER2-targeted therapy

For metastatic Oesophageal adenocarcinoma, the targeted therapy trastuzumab (Herceptin) may be administered in combination with chemotherapy as a first treatment. Trastuzumab deruxtecan (Enhertu) is also approved as a first-line treatment for Oesophageal adenocarcinoma with metastatic disease.

 This treatment combines a trastuzumab-like medication with potent chemotherapy. If your cancer is HER2-negative, HER2-targeted therapy will not be an option for you, and your doctor will discuss other treatment choices with you.


The most common treatment for Oesophageal cancer is surgery. Esophagectomy is a surgical treatment that removes a portion or all of the oesophagus, as well as some surrounding tissue.

The doctor may relocate the stomach (pushing it up into the chest) or use a portion of the intestine to sustain function if the oesophagus is removed. The doctor may also take lymph nodes from around the oesophagus and examine them under a microscope to discover whether cancer is present.

Some people with cancer that has not progressed beyond the oesophagus can be cured with surgery. Unfortunately, only about a quarter of Oesophageal tumours are detected at this stage. As a result, surgery is frequently recommended to alleviate discomfort.


Chemotherapy is the usage of medications to kill cancer cells by preventing them from growing, dividing and producing new cancer cells. Chemotherapy is a type of treatment for cancer that involves the use of chemicals to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy medicines are commonly used before or after surgery for Oesophageal cancer patients. Chemotherapy can be used along with radiation therapy.

A chemotherapy schedule is mainly composed of a certain number of cycles given over a certain amount of time. A patient may receive a single medicine at a time or a mixture of drugs at the same time. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are frequently used to treat oesophageal cancer at the same time.

Chemotherapy side effects vary by person and dose, but they can include fatigue, infection risk, nausea and vomiting, hair loss, nerve difficulties, loss of appetite and diarrhea. These side effects normally subside once the treatment is completed.

 Prevention of Oesophageal cancer

Preventions of Oesophageal cancer

Oesophageal cancer cannot be prevented; risk factors such as cigarette and alcohol use can be managed to minimise the risk. The following are some of the best methods to prevent the occurrence of Oesophageal cancer.

Quit smoking  

After you quit smoking, your risk of lung cancer and Oesophageal cancer lowers, and this decline continues as you go longer without smoking.  

Drink alcohol in moderation  

If you intend to drink alcohol, consume it moderately. Addiction to alcohol is a threat to existence, and getting rid of it earlier is the best way to avoid problems like Oesophageal cancer.

Eat more fruits and vegetables  

Sticking to the habit of eating fruits and vegetables guarantees the longevity of a person and prevents woeful diseases like cancer and other disorders.

 Maintain a healthy weight 

Maintenance of a healthy weight helps to control fluid levels of the body. This improves the function of the body and rarely causes problems like Diabetes, heart disease, certain malignancies, gallstones, osteoarthritis, breathing issues and sleep apnea. You may feel better about yourself and have more energy to make other beneficial health improvements.  

 Risk factors of Oesophageal cancer

 Factors that level up the risk of Oesophageal cancer include:

Consuming alcohol  

Consuming alcohol in Oesophageal cancer

Consumption of alcohol leads to the following problems:


Smoking is one of the undeniable reasons for the cause of Oesophageal cancer. Cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease and Diabetes are all diseases caused by smoking. Smoking also increases the chance of Tuberculosis, some eye illnesses and immune system problems, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.

 Not eating enough fruits and vegetables  

Inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables may be associated with an increased incidence of cancer. It also causes problems like cancer, depression, heart problems, eye problems and vitamin deficiency.

 Being overweight  

Overweight and a sudden drop in weight are the important risk factors for Oesophageal cancer. Exercise is the optimal way to reduce weight and put your weight under control.

 Summing up 

The prognosis for Oesophageal cancer is determined by the cancer’s stage and the patient’s overall condition. Oesophageal cancer can generally be successfully treated if found early.

Unfortunately, Oesophageal cancer is rarely detected until it has proceeded to an advanced stage, at which point treatment is less effective.


1. Is cancer of the oesophagus treatable?  

 Diagnosing oesophagus cancer earlier is treatable, but it rarely can be cured.

2.  What does a tumor in the oesophagus look like?  

 People with oesophagus cancer experience chest burns or pain in the middle of their chest. Other than that, a small bump called plaques may appear on the oesophagus.

3. Is Oesophageal cancer spread to the stomach? 

 Yes, Oesophageal cancer has the possibility of spreading to the stomach. It is recommended to treat cancer as early as possible.

4. Is Oesophageal cancer leading to a sore throat?  

 It becomes difficult to swallow food when you get affected by oesophagus cancer. As the tumour grows, swallowing becomes hard.

5.What are the two most common types of oesophageal carcinoma?

 The two most common types of oesophageal carcinoma include Adenocarcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma.  

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