The oesophagus has 2 types of lining. Most of it is lined by squamous cells which are similar to our skin cells. Where the oesophagus joins the stomach, it is lined by columnar cells which are similar to the cells lining the rest of the digestive tract.
Oesophageal cancer is the cancer of the cells of the inner lining of the oesophagus.
Squamous cell Carcinoma: Cancer arising from the squamous lining part of the oesophagus.
Adenocarcinoma: Cancer arising from the columnar lining part.
In the early stages of esophageal cancer, it may not present with any symptoms. However, common symptoms include:
People with the above symptoms will need further evaluation.
Those with Barrett’s oesophagus may consider screening for oesophageal cancer.
Esophageal cancer treatment depends on the location and stage of the disease as well as the general condition of the person.
Surgical treatment combined with chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be necessary as an additional or alternative treatment.
Surgical treatment ranges from a minimally invasive approach to an open approach. The operation usually involves the removal of the diseased part of the oesophagus (oesophagectomy) and the surrounding lymph nodes. The stomach is then joined to the remaining oesophagus.
The treatment of oesophageal cancer depends on the location and stage of the disease as well as the general condition of the person. Patients with early stage disease have a better chance of survival.
The recovery will depend on the surgical approach (minimally invasive or open). After oesophagectomy, you may be monitored in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for 1-2 days. The average length of stay in the hospital is between 7-10 days.
Oesophageectomy is a major surgery. The operation involves the removal of the diseased part of the oesophagus and the surrounding lymph nodes. The stomach is then joined to the remaining oesophagus.
You will not be able to eat or drink immediately after surgery. For some patients, small sips of water may be possible after 4-5 days.
A week after surgery, you will usually have a swallow study. If the test shows good flow without a leak, you can begin eating. At first, it will be liquids and soft foods. Subsequently, you should be able to tolerate a more normal diet. You will be advised to take small frequent meals and to eat slowly and chew well.