Definition of Esophageal cancer
The most common sites of esophageal cancer are:
In these patients, a tracheal fistula may develop in the esophagus, which is mainly found in tumors of the upper and middle esophagus. As with other squamous cell carcinomas, hypercalcemia may occur in the absence of bone metastases, possibly due to a parathyroid hormone-dependent peptide secreted by tumor cells.
What are the ways to diagnose esophageal cancer?
The diagnosis of esophageal cancer is usually made in the later stages of the disease. Although efforts to screen endoscopically and cytological in patients with Barrett’s esophagus have been effective as a means of detecting high-grade dysplasia, it has so far did not affect reducing the risk of death in patients with esophageal cancer and esophageal adenocarcinoma.
In all patients with suspected esophageal cancer, esophagostomy (endoscopy) should be performed to view the tumor and obtain a tissue sample to confirm the diagnosis. Because patients at risk for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (i.e., smokers and alcoholics, the risk of lung and head and neck cancers are also high, the examination of the larynx, trachea, and bronchi must be performed.
A complete gastric examination with an endoscope is also required. The extent of esophageal tumor spread to the chest and CT scan of the chest and abdomen and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) should assess lymph nodes around the aorta. PET scans are useful for assessing the presence of distant metastatic disease, and can therefore provide accurate information about the spread of the tumor to the lymph nodes of the chest or mediastinum, which can be useful in determining radiation therapy fields.
It seems that such scans if performed sequentially can provide a way to assess early response to preoperative chemotherapy.
What are the prognosis and life expectancy of patients with esophageal cancer?
First, we must say that longevity is in the hands of God and the information you find below is only the result of data collection over several years and is not conclusive.
Esophageal cancer is fatal and the prognosis for patients with the disease is poor, with only about 10% of patients surviving 5 years after diagnosis (i.e., 90% of patients die before 5 years).
About 20% of patients who survive surgery will survive for up to 5 years.
Ways to treat esophageal cancer
The goal of esophageal cancer treatment is to control the symptoms.