Esophageal Cancer Causes and Treatments

Neil Sharma MD

August 25, 2022

Esophageal Cancer

There are several different types of esophageal cancer. These types are classified based on the degree of differentiation of the cancer cells. Grade 1  cancer cells are similar to normal tissue. Grade 2  cancer cells are moderately differentiated from normal esophageal tissue. Grade3  cancer cells are undifferentiated and poorly differentiated. Fortunately, there are several different treatments.

Tobacco consumption

Studies have shown that people who consume large amounts of tobacco are at higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. The chemical agents in tobacco cause damage to esophageal cells and prevent them from healing. In addition, tobacco use weakens the esophageal sphincters, which help keep stomach acids in the stomach and protect the esophagus. Damage to the sphincters from tobacco use allows stomach acids to reflux into the esophagus, causing heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease. Smoking is also an independent risk factor for esophageal cancer, and people with active smoking are more likely to develop the disease in the early stages.

As of July 2006, there have been 101 cases of esophageal cancer in the United States. Of these, 68 were ESCC, eight were EAC, and one was of undetermined histological type.

Excess weight

Research has linked excessive weight to an increased risk of developing.  The National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, pooled information from nearly 400,000 people.  The researchers also followed the individuals to determine if they developed cancer. The findings have several implications for the prevention and treatment.

In recent years, the incidence of cancer associated with excess body weight has increased in both adolescents and adults. EBW has expanded dramatically in almost all countries and has reached epidemic levels in industrialized nations. The findings highlight the importance of a weight-control program. Excess weight can also trigger acid reflux and heartburn symptoms, which may increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer.

Damaged DNA

Although the exact causes of esophageal cancer are still unknown.  DNA damage in the lining cells of the esophagus is believed to be a common factor. DNA is a molecule that contains the body’s genetic code and serves as a carrier for genetic information. When damaged, DNA can send faulty instructions to cells. This can turn on genes that tell cells to multiply and die, or turn off tumor suppressor genes. Damaged DNA can lead to an overabundance of cells.  which then bind together and form a tumor.

The researchers say that the study’s findings could help other researchers discover how genes respond to different situations. The findings could offer insight into cancer mechanisms beyond esophageal-specific mechanisms. As a result, the study findings could lead to more effective treatments for patients with esophageal cancer.

Esophageal Cancer Surgery

There are two stages of esophageal cancer. Stage IIA is the earliest stage and may have spread to one or more lymph nodes. Stage IIIB and IV are the most advanced stages. These stages usually involve tumors that have spread to lymph nodes and distant parts of the body.

A surgeon may perform surgery to remove the cancer. This procedure is highly invasive.  It is usually the only option for early-stage  cancer. In this surgery, an endoscope is inserted down the esophagus and instruments are attached to it. The doctor then removes the tumor through the esophagus. Leaving the remaining tissue intact.