What is esophageal cancer?


Quick Answer

Esophageal cancer occurs in the esophagus, which is the long, tube-like structure that runs from the throat to the stomach. Although it can occur along the entire esophagus, the cancer usually starts in the cells that line the inside of the esophagus, according to Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

While esophageal cancer is not a common form of cancer, factors that increase its risk include gastroesophageal reflux disease; smoking and tobacco use; heavy alcohol consumption; and Barrett's esophagus, states WebMD. Symptoms generally include difficulty or pain when swallowing, weight loss, coughing, indigestion and heartburn. Treatment depends on the stage and severity of the cancer but usually includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of chemotherapy and radiation, explains Mayo Clinic.

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