What Are Some Causes of Esophageal Squamous Mucosa?

Esophageal squamous mucosa is a normal condition of a healthy esophagus, as most of the esophagus is actually lined with squamous mucosa or squamous cells, according to the American Cancer Society. Squamous cells are also found on the surface of the skin and are flat with an appearance similar to fish scales.

The lining of the esophagus is referred to as mucosa, the American Cancer Society explains. The lining is referred to as squamous mucosa because of the presence of squamous cells. Some people develop goblet cells on the lining of the esophagus instead of squamous cells, which is called intestinal metaplasia or Barrett’s esophagus. Goblet cells typically grow in the intestines, but with chronic reflux of stomach contents into the esophagus, the normal lining of the esophagus is damaged.

Sometimes a person who has Barrett’s esophagus experiences cell dysplasia, states the American Cancer Society. Dysplasia is the term used to describe cells that are more abnormal and pre-cancerous, but it is a treatable condition, as the abnormal cells are not advanced enough to spread to other sites in the body. Typically, dysplasia is categorized as low grade or high grade, according to how abnormal the cells are when examined under a microscope. While people with Barrett’s esophagus have a higher risk of cancer development, the majority of individuals with this condition do not develop cancer.