- Squamous cell cancer—from the cells that line the upper part of the esophagus
- Adenocarcinoma—from cells that where the esophagus meets the stomach
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- Age: 60 or older
- Sex: male
- Smoking or smokeless tobacco use (such as chewing tobacco or snuff)
- Alcohol use
- History of gastroesophageal reflux, especially if this has caused Barrett's esophagus
- Achalasia (chronic dilation of the esophagus)
- Infection with Helicobacter pylori (causes stomach ulcers)
- Certain rare genetic conditions such as Plummer Vinson syndrome and tylosis
- Damaged esophagus from toxic substances, such as lye
- History of cancer of the head and/or neck
- Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection
- Trouble swallowing
- Painful swallowing
- Hoarse voice
- Pain in the throat, back, chest
- Nausea, vomiting
- Coughing up blood
- Weight loss
- Chest x-ray—an x-ray of the chest area
- Upper gastrointestinal (GI) series—a series of x-rays of the esophagus and stomach taken after drinking a special solution
- Esophagoscopy—examination of the esophagus using a lighted scope
- Biopsy—removal of a small sample of esophageal tissue to test for cancer cells
- Computed tomography (CT) scan—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body
- Positron emission tomography (PET)/CT scans—may be done before surgery to look for spread of the cancer, more sensitive than CT scan
- Bone scan—to see if the cancer has spread to the bones
- External radiation therapy—radiation directed at the esophagus from a source outside the body
- Internal radiation therapy—radioactive materials placed into the esophagus in or near the cancer cells
Chemoradiotherapy or Combined Modality Therapy
- Don't smoke or use other tobacco products. If you smoke, quit.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation. Moderate alcohol intake is no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
- Get medical treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease.
American Association of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery http://www.entnet.org/
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/
Canadian Cancer Society http://www.cancer.ca/
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology http://www.entcanada.org/
Abeloff MD. Clinical Oncology. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone, Inc.; 2000.
Casciato D., Manual of Clinical Oncology, sixth edition, Lippincot Williams and Wilkins, 2009
Far AE, Aghakhani A, Hamkar R, et al. Frequency of human papillomavirus infection in oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma in Iranian patients. J Infect Dis 2007;39(1):58-62.
General information about esophageal cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/esophageal/Patient . Updated August 2008. Accessed July 8, 2009.
Sleisenger MH, Fordtran JS, Feldman M, Scharschmidt B. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders Company; 1998.
1/13/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Wysowski DK. Reports of esophageal cancer with oral bisphosphonate use. N Engl J Med. 2009;360:89-90.
8/23/2010 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Cardwell CR, Abnet CC, Cantwell MM, Murray LJ. Exposure to oral bisphosphonates and risk of esophageal cancer. JAMA. 2010;304(6):657-663.
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 09/2012 -
- Update Date: 00/93/2012 -