Esophageal cancer is a malignant tumor of esophagus, which is the organ that connects the mouth to the stomach. Most people who develop esophageal cancer are between 50 and 70 years of age.
Risk factors for developing esophageal cancer include smoking, drinking alcohol, and gastro-esophageal reflux disease. People with esophageal cancer often have difficulty swallowing or belching. This problem usually worsens as the cancer grows. People with advanced cancer can also have pain, weight loss, regurgitation, and bleeding.
Esophageal cancer is diagnosed with endoscopy and biopsy, where a camera is inserted in your mouth into the esophagus. Your doctor may order other tests, such as a PET scan or CT scan to determine how advanced the cancer is.
The treatment of esophageal cancer is based on the stage of the tumor. Surgery to remove the esophagus, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy may be used to treat esophageal cancer. Your doctor can discuss the specific treatments most appropriate for you.