Esophagus Cancer (Esophageal Cancer) - Sign and Symptoms
The definition of Esophagus
Esophagus is a hollow tube that transports food and liquids from the throat to the stomach. When a person swallows, the muscular walls of the esophagus contract to push food down into the stomach. Glands in the lining of the esophagus produce mucus, which maintain the passageway moist and makes swallowing easier. Esophagus is located just behind the trachea (windpipe). In an adult, the esophagus is about 10 inches in length.
What is cancer?
Cancer is a disease that affects the cells, the body's basic unit of life. To understand any type of cancer, it is useful to know about normal cells and what happens when they become cancerous.
The body is made up of many types of cells. Normally, cells grow, divide, and produce more cells when they are needed. This process maintains the body healthy and functioning properly. Sometimes, however, cells keep dividing when new cells are not needed. This mass of extra cells (additional) forming a growth or tumor. Tumors can be benign or malignant.
Benign tumors are not cancer. They can usually be removed or raised and, in most cases, they do not come back. Cells in benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body. Most important, benign tumors are rarely a threat to life.
Malignant tumors are cancer. Cells in malignant tumors are abnormal and divide without control or order. These cancer cells can subjugate and destroy the tissue around them. Cancer cells can also break away from a malignant tumor and enter the bloodstream or lymphatic system (the tissues and organs-organism that produce, store and carry white blood cells that fight infections and other diseases). This process, called metastasis, is how cancer spreads from the original tumor (primary) to form new tumors (secondary) in other parts of the body.
Cancer that begins in the esophagus (also called esophageal cancer) is divided into two major types, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma, depending on the type of malignant cells. Squamous cell carcinomas arise in squamous cells that line the esophagus. These cancers usually occur on the top and middle of the esophagus. Adenocarcinomas usually develop in tissues that glandulous at the bottom of the esophagus.
Treatment is similar for both types of esophageal cancer.
If the cancer has spread beyond the esophagus, it is often the first to go to-lymph node. Lymph-lymph nodes are small structures that shaped nuts that are part of the body's immune system. Esophageal cancer can also spread to almost all other parts of the body, including liver, lung, brain, and bones.Risk Factors
The exact causes of esophageal cancer is unknown. However, studies show that any of the following factors may increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer:
* Age. Esophageal cancer is more likely to occur as people get older; most people who develop esophageal cancer are over age 60 years.* Gender. Esophageal cancer is more common in men than in women.* Tobacco Use. Smoking cigarettes or using smokeless tobacco is one of the major risk factors for esophageal cancer.* Use of Alcohol. Chronic alcohol use and / or weight is another major risk factor for esophageal cancer. People who use both alcohol and tobacco have an especially high risk of esophageal cancer. Scientists believe that these compounds enhance the effects of each other's harmful.* Barrett's Esophagus. Long-term irritation can increase the risk of esophageal cancer. Tissues at the bottom of the esophagus can be infect if stomach acid frequently back into the esophagus - a problem called gastric reflux. Through time, the cells in the irritated part of the esophagus may change and begin to resemble the cells that line the stomach. This condition, known as Barrett's esophagus, is a malignant condition before , which may develop into adenocarcinoma of the esophagus.* Other Types of Irritation. Other causes of significant irritation or damage to the lining of the esophagus, such as swallowing lye or caustic compounds (sharp) others, can increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer.* Medical History. Patients who have had cancers of other head and neck have increased chance of developing a second cancer in the head and neck area, including esophageal cancer.
Having any of these risk factors increase the likelihood that a person will develop esophageal cancer. Still, most people with one or even several of these factors do not get the disease. And most people who get cancer of the esophagus does not have any of these risk factors are unknown.
Identifying factors that increase a person's chances of developing esophageal cancer is the first step toward preventing the disease. We already know that the best way to prevent this type of cancer is to quit (or never start) smoking cigarettes or using smokeless tobacco and to drink alcohol only in moderation. Researchers continue to study the causes of esophageal cancer and to find other ways to prevent it. For example, they are investigating the possibility that increasing the input of the fruits and vegetables a person, especially a raw, may reduce the risk of this disease.
Researchers also are studying ways to reduce the risk of esophageal cancer for people with Barrett's esophagus.Recognize the symptoms
Early esophageal cancer usually causes no symptoms. However, when the cancer grows, symptoms may include:
* Swallowing is difficult and painful* Losing weight is heavy / severe* Pain in the throat or back, behind the breastbone or between the shoulder blades* Hoarseness or chronic cough* Vomiting* Coughing up blood
These symptoms may be caused by esophageal cancer or by other conditions. It is important to check with a physician.
To help find cause of symptoms, the doctor evaluates a person's medical history and perform a physical examination. Doctors usually order a chest x-ray and other diagnostic tests. These tests may include the following:
* Barium swallow (also called an esophagram) is a series of x-rays esophagus. Patients drink a liquid containing barium, which coats the inside of the esophagus. The barium makes any changes to the shape of the esophagus appear on x-rays.* Esophagoscopy (also called endoscopy) is a test from the inside of the esophagus using a thin lighted tube called an endoscope. Anesthesia is usually used during this procedure. If an abnormal area is found, the doctor can take cells and tissues through the endoscope for examination under a microscope. This is called a biopsy. A biopsy can show cancer, tissue changes that may lead to cancer or other conditions.
If the diagnosis is esophageal cancer, the doctor needs to learn the stage (or extent) of disease. Pen-stadium is a careful attempt to find out whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to what parts of the body. Knowing the stage of the disease helps the doctor plan treatment. Listed below are the descriptions of the four-stage esophageal cancer.
* Stage I. Cancer is found only in the upper layers of cells lining the esophagus.* Stage II. Cancer involves the layers deeper than the lining of the esophagus, or it has spread to the lymph-adjacent lymph nodes. Cancer still has not spread to other parts of the body.* Stage III. Cancer has invaded more deeply into the wall of the esophagus or has spread to tissues or lymph-lymph node near the esophagus. He still has not spread to other parts of the body.* Stage IV. The cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Esophageal cancer can spread almost anywhere in the body, including liver, lung, brain, and bones.Several tests are used to determine whether the cancer has spread include:
* CAT (or CT) scan (computed tomography). Computers that are connected to x-ray machine creates a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body.* Bone scan. This technique, which creates pictures (images) of the bones on a computer screen or on film, can show whether cancer has spread to the bones. A small amount of radioactive compound is injected into a vein; he walked through the bloodstream, and gather in the bones, especially in the areas of abnormal bone growth. An instrument called a scanner measures the radioactivity levels in these areas.* Bronchoscopy. Doctors put the bronchoscope (a thin, lighted tube) into the mouth or nose down through the windpipe to look into the streets of the respiratory passage.
Treatment for esophageal cancer depends on a number of factors, including size, location, and extent of the tumor, and the overall health of the patient. Patients are often treated by a team of specialists, which may include a gastroenterologist (a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the digestive system), surgeon (a doctor who specializes in removing or repairing body parts ), medical oncologist (a doctor who specializes in treating cancer), and radiation oncologist (a doctor who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer). Because cancer treatment may make the mouth sensitive and at risk for infection, doctors often advise patients with esophageal cancer to see a dentist for a dental examination and treatment before cancer treatment begins.
Many treatments and combination of different treatments may be used to control cancer and / or to improve the quality of life of patients by reducing symptoms.
* Surgery is the most common treatment for esophageal cancer. Typically, surgeons remove the tumor along with all or part of the esophagus, lymph-adjacent lymph nodes and other tissues in that area. Surgery to remove the esophagus is called esophagectomy. The surgeon connects the remaining healthy part of the esophagus to the stomach so the patient is still able to swallow. Occasionally, a plastic tube or part of the intestine is used to make the connection. The surgeon may also widen the opening between the stomach and small intestine to allow stomach contents to more easily pass into the small intestine. Sometimes surgery is done after other treatment is completed.* Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-powered rays to kill cancer cells sek. Radiation therapy affects cancer cells only in the treated area. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external radiation) or from radioactive materials placed in or near the tumor (internal radiation). A plastic tube may be inserted into the esophagus to maintain it open during radiation therapy. This procedure is called intraluminal intubation and dilation. Radiation therapy may be used alone or combined with chemotherapy as primary treatment instead of surgery, especially if the tumor size or location would make surgery difficult. Doctors may also combine radiation therapy with chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before surgery. Even if the tumor can not be removed by surgery or destroyed entirely by radiation therapy, radiation therapy can often help pain and make swallowing easier.* Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. Anticancer drugs used to treat esophageal cancer travel through the body. Anticancer drugs used to treat esophageal cancer are usually given by injection into a vein (IV). Chemotherapy may be combined with radiation therapy as primary treatment (surgery instead) or to shrink the tumor before surgery.* Laser therapy is the use of high-intensity light to destroy tumor cells. Laser therapy affects cells only in the treated area. Your doctor may use laser therapy to destroy cancerous tissue and relieve blockage in the esophagus when the cancer can not be removed by surgery. Liberation of barriers can help reduce symptoms, especially swallowing problems.* Photodynamic therapy (PDT), the type of laser therapy, involves the use of drugs that are absorbed by cancer cells, when exposed to a special light, the drugs become active and destroy cancer cells. Your doctor may use PDT to relieve symptoms of esophageal cancer such as difficulty in swallowing.
Clinical trials (research studies) to evaluate new ways to treat cancer are the options (choices) that are important for many patients with esophageal cancer. In some studies, all patients receive the new treatment. In others, doctors compare different therapies by giving the new treatment to one group of patients and therapy is the usual (standard) in another group. Through research, doctors learn new ways, which is more effective for treating cancer.Treatment side effects
Side effects of cancer treatment depends on the type of treatment and probably is different for each person. Doctors and nurses can explain possible side effects of treatment, and they can suggest ways to help relieve symptoms that may occur during and after treatment.
* Surgery for esophageal cancer may cause short-term pain and tenderness in the area of operation, but the discomfort or pain can be controlled with medication. Patients are taught special breathing and coughing exercises to maintain their lungs clean.* Radiation therapy affects both normal cells and cells that are cancerous. Side effects from radiation therapy depends largely on the dose and the body part being treated. Side effects from radiation therapy are common in the esophagus are a dry mouth and throat and wounds; difficulty swallowing; swelling of the mouth and gums; tooth holes; fatigue, skin changes the place of care and loss of appetite.* Chemotherapy, such as radiation therapy, affects both normal cells and cells that are cancerous. Side effects depend largely on drugs and specific doses. Side effects from chemotherapy are common, including nausea and vomiting, poor appetite, hair loss, skin rashes and itching, mouth sores and mouth, diarrhea, and fatigue. These side effects usually disappear gradually during the recovery periods between treatments or after treatment is completed.* Laser therapy can cause short-term pain where treatment is given, but this discomfort can be controlled with medication.* Photodynamic therapy makes the skin and eyes are very sensitive to light for 6 weeks or more after treatment. Side effects other than those temporarily PDT may include coughing, difficulty swallowing, abdominal pain, painful breathing or shortness of breath.
Doctors and nurses can explain possible side effects of treatment, and they can suggest ways to help relieve symptoms that may occur during and after treatment.
Nutrition for Cancer Patients-Patients
Eating well during cancer treatment means getting calories and proteins are sufficient to control the weight loss and maintain strength. Eating well often helps people with cancer feel better and have more energy.
However, many people with esophageal cancer find it hard to eat well because they have difficulty swallowing. Patients may not feel like eating if they are uncomfortable or tired. Also, the side effects of treatment are common, such as poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, or mouth sores, can make eating difficult. Foods may taste different.
After surgery, patients may receive nutrients directly into a vein. How to get nutrients into the body is called IV. Some may require a feeding tube (a flexible plastic tube is inserted through the nose into the stomach or through the mouth to the stomach) until they are able to feed themselves.
Patients with esophageal cancer are usually encouraged to eat several small meals and snacks throughout the day, rather than trying to eat large meals three times. When swallowing is difficult, many patients can still try to eat soft foods moistened with sauces or gravy. Puddings, ice cream, and soups are nutritious and usually are easy to swallow. It is perhaps useful to use a blender to process hard foods. Doctors, dieticians, nutritionist, or other health care provider can advise patients about these and other ways to maintain a healthy diet.
The Importance of Follow-Up Care
Follow-up care after treatment for esophageal cancer is important to ensure that any changes in health are found. If the cancer returns or advanced (continuing) or if a new cancer develops, it can be treated as soon as possible. Checkups may include physical examinations, x-rays, or lab tests. Among the appointments that have been scheduled, patients should report any health problems to their doctor as soon as they arise.
Providing Emotional Support
Living with a serious disease is challenging. Apart from having to overcome physical challenges and medical, people with cancer face many worried, feelings, and concerns that can make life difficult. They may find they need help to cope with the emotional aspects as well as practical from their disease. In fact, attention to the emotional burden of having cancer is often part of a plan of patient care. Support from the health care team (doctors, nurses, social workers), support groups, and networks of patient to patient can help people feel less isolated and troubled, and improve the quality of their lives. Cancer support groups provide a setting where cancer patients can talk about living with cancer with others who may have similar experiences. Patients may want to speak to a member of their health care team about finding a support group.
Questions For Doctor
Ask your doctor the following questions will help you further understand your condition. To help you remember what the doctor says, you may make notes or ask whether you should use a recorder (tape recorder). Some people also like to have a family member or friend with them when they talk to the doctor - to take part in discussions, to make notes, or just to listen.
* The tests which can diagnose esophageal cancer? Are they painful?* How soon after the tests I will get the results?
* What treatments are recommended for me?* Clinical trials what is right for my type of cancer?* Will I be in hospital stay in the hospital to receive my treatment? For how long?* How can my normal activities may change during my treatment?
* What side effects should I expect? How long will they last?* Who is going to my phone if I am nervous about the side effects?* What would I do if I have pain?
* After treatment, how often do I need to be examined? What type of follow-up care should I get?* What type of nutritional support will I need? Where can I get it?* Will I eventually be able to resume my normal activities?
Health Care Team
* Who will be involved with my treatment and rehabilitation? What is the role of each member of the health care team in my care?* What are your experiences in care for patients with esophageal cancer?
* Are there support groups in this area with people who can I talk to her?* Are there organizations where I get more information about cancer, especially esophageal cancer?* Are there Web sites I can visit that have accurate information about cancer, especially esophageal cancer?
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Esophagus Cancer (Esophageal Cancer) - Sign, Symptoms, and Factor
Esophagus Cancer (Esophageal Cancer) - Sign and Symptoms