Esophageal Cancer The esophagus main purpose is to control the passage of food to the stomach, but painful and/or difficulty swallowing makes it hard for food to pass through (dysphagia). Cancer of the esophagus is presented as a malignant tumor arising from the tissue of the esophagus and is known as one of the leading causes of cancer deaths. There are two main types of esophageal cancer and are named according to the area where the cancer starts. Cancer of the esophagus is more than like to happen for males 60 years of age or older, but can happen at any age if tobacco and alcohol use is present. Other risk factors are poor diet (lacking fruits and vegetables), obesity, and have other esophageal diseases such as Barrett’s esophagus or acid reflux disease. Barrett’s, is a serious complication of GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease) where normal tissue lining the esophagus changes to that of the intestine. A small percentage of patients with GERD develop Barrett’s esophagus after having GERD symptoms for a long period of time. In most cases this disease is fatal, due in part to the symptoms from it. As the cancer grows, it narrows the esophageal lumen leading to the symptoms of dysphagia, hoarse voice, vomiting, bad breathe, and sour taste in mouth. Loss of weight normally follows with the vomiting and painful swallowing, causes the person not to eat much.
Once diagnosed, many thoughts will go through your mind, but it is best to seek a second opinion about your diagnosis and the method of choice planned to fight the disease. I have not personally had this disease, but have had to go through the many stages that come with fighting it with my dad. My dad was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus on my birthday (6/12/2007). My step-mother and father had a second opinion done in a matter of days and chose a very aggressive action plan due to the fact his cancer was in stage three.
Over the course of four months, he had chemoradiation therapy in large doses, then surgery to remove all of his esophagus and a portion of his stomach. The battle was hard on his body, he quit smoking without any outside help and began the treatments. He lost well over 100 pounds within that time, had several hospitalizations due to breathing and heart problems brought on by the chemo. Towards the end of October, he was to have surgery, but could not due to a clot in his brain that caused a mild stroke. The surgery was done early part of November in 2007. He has been cancer free since