Esophageal cancer or esophagus cancer as the name suggests this cancer occurs in the esophagus which is a 10 inch long tube connecting the throat and the stomach.
This results from the malignant growth of the cells in the inner layer of the esophagus.
The symptoms are not known until the esophageal cancer or esophagus cancer reaches its advanced stage. The most common esophageal cancer symptom, which usually occurs late in the disease, is a feeling or a sensation of food sticking in your throat or chest and difficulty in swallowing food.
Types of Esophagus Cancer
The two most common forms of Esophageal cancer or Esophagus cancer are named for the type of cells that become malignant (cancerous):
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cells are the thin, flat cells lining the esophagus. The cancer that forms in these cells is Squamous cell carcinoma. This is the most common type of esophageal cancer or esophagus cancer in black Americans and the most prevalent type of esophageal cancer worldwide.
Glandular cells in the lining of the esophagus produce and release fluids such as mucus. Cancer that begins in glandular (secretory) cells is called Adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is more common in white than in black Americans.
Esophageal Cancer Prognosis
Esophageal cancer or esophagus cancer recovery rate is good when the disease is detected at an early stage. So the chances of recovery depend directly on the stage of the esophageal cancer.
According to the statistics the five year survival rate is 80-90% for patients whose cancer is detected at an early stage after the treatment. One should keep in mind that the anticancer drugs affect normal cells as well as malignant ones
But this is not the case in many esophageal cancer or esophagus cancer patients because as this disease is generally diagnosed until and unless it is in the advanced stage the chances of curing are not good.
The overall recovery chance or the prognosis generally depends on factors such as the stage of the disease meaning how far the disease has affected the esophagus either a part or completely and whether it is limited to esophagus or has spread to other parts as well. The other factors are the size of the tumor and the overall general health of the patient.
Esophageal Cancer Survival Rate
The overall survival rate of a patient depends on well he or she responds to the chemotherapy and the radiation methods of treatment including the surgical removal of any residual tumor. This factor helps in determining the survival chances of the patient.
Generally the overall 5-year survival rate for esophageal cancer or esophagus cancer remains approximately 20-25% for all stages. The survival rate also depends on the spread of the disease whether it includes the lymph nodes or not.
Esophageal cancer or esophagus cancer patients without lymph node involvement have a significantly better prognosis and 5-year survival rate compared to patients with involved lymph nodes. Unfortunately patients with Stage IV esophageal cancer or esophagus cancer are associated with a 5-year survival rate of less than 5%.