Symptoms of esophagus cancer include difficulty swallowing, unintentional weight loss, chest pressure, chest pain and worsening heartburn. Those in early stages of esophagus cancer typically do not exhibit symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic.
The esophagus is the thin tube that runs from the throat to the stomach. Esophageal cancer can occur anywhere along the tube but usually occurs in its lower portion. The cancer begins in the cells that line the esophagus, Mayo Clinic states.
The two most common forms of esophagus cancer are adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma affects the lower portion of the esophagus and begins in the cells in the glands of the esophagus. Squamous cell carcinoma occurs in the esophagus lining and affects the middle section. It is the most common esophagus cancer worldwide, reports Mayo Clinic.
Esophageal cancer affects more men than women. It is also relatively rare in the United States, says Mayo Clinic. While it is not entirely known what causes the cancer, risk factors include smoking, alcohol use, throat irritation and gastroesophageal reflux. Other risk factors include obesity, bile reflux and radiation treatment to the chest, says Mayo Clinic.
Treatments vary depending on the severity and type of cancer and include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, according to Mayo Clinic.