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Esophageal cancer refers to a malignant tumour of the oesophagus which is the muscular tube that moves food from the throat to the stomach.

Oesophageal cancer may not present with any symptoms in the early stages.

Common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain during swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • Heartburn
  • Regurgitation
  • Vomiting blood
  • Black, tarry bowel movements
  • Hoarse voice
  • Persistent cough

Diagnosis and staging involves taking a medical history, performing a physical examination and conducting tests which may include:

  • Gastroscopy
  • Barium swallow
  • CT scan
  • CT-PET (Positron Emission Tomography)
  • Bronchoscopy

Treatment depends on the location and stage of the disease as well as the patient’s general condition.

Surgical treatment ranges from minimally invasive resection to open radical resection (trans-thoracic oesophagectomy, transhiatal oesophagectomy, 3-stage oesophagectomy).

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be necessary as additional or alternative treatments.

 

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