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The oesophagus is a tube-like part of the digestive tract that connects the mouth with the stomach. Oesophageal cancer is a cancerous (malignant) tumour of this tube. Most of these cancers occur in the lower part of the oesophagus. More than 10,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States every year.
The cause is unknown. Certain risk factors, such as heavy alcohol and tobacco use, increase the chances of getting this cancer. It isn’t contagious. Acid reflux from the stomach that occurs for a long time can lead to changes in the lining of the oesophagus (Barrett’s oesophagus), which can, in some cases, lead to oesophageal cancer.
Risk factors for oesophageal cancer include:
Symptoms may include:
Your health care provider may ask about your medical history and perform a physical exam. Other tests that may be done include:
If oesophageal cancer is confirmed, it will be staged to determine its severity and extent. Staging is an assessment of:
Treatment for oesophageal cancer depends on the type and stage of the cancer. Treatment may include one or more of the following:
Follow these instructions at home regarding oesophagus cancer:
Contact a health care provider regarding oesophagus cancer if:
Get help right away if:
DOs and DON’Ts in Managing Oesophageal Cancer: