Esophagus/ Endoscopy

The esophagus is a hollow tube that transfers foods and liquids between the throat and stomach. It is an essential component of an individual’s gastrointestinal tract that connects the stomach and the throat. The upper and lower esophageal sphincters are the two bands of muscle that exist at the top and bottom of the esophagus. When an individual swallows, these sphincters allow the passing of food into the stomach.

Learning About An Endoscopy

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Common Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer

  • Flimsiness

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Pneumonia

  • Chronic cough

  • Bleeding

  • Hoarseness

  • Heartburn

  • Back and chest pain

  • Epigastric or retrosternal pain

During the initial stage, cancer begins to develop within the inner layer of the esophagus and then gradually shifts to other layers and body parts. Heavy drinking and addiction to smoking are factors that can result in esophageal cancer.

Prominent Types of Esophageal Cancer

Adenocarcinoma: Adenocarcinoma starts in the glandular tissue in the lower part of the esophagus and mucus-secreting glands. It can occur in numerous places including the pancreas, lungs, prostate, esophagus, breasts, and colon.

Squamous cell carcinoma: This type of cancer begins in squamous cells that line the esophagus. Affected areas include the middle and upper parts of the esophagus. According to the latest survey, it has been highlighted that about 30-40% of lung cancers are Squamous cell carcinoma. 

How is Esophageal Cancer Diagnosed?

Medical specialists conduct tests and exams to diagnose cancer. They thoroughly check the medical history of patients to determine possible risk factors. Paying close attention to chest and neck areas of patients is important. In addition to this, imaging tests are also conducted using radioactive substances, sound waves, magnetic fields, and X-rays. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan, and Computed Tomography (CT or CAT) scan are the effective techniques used.

Surgical Procedures to Treat Esophageal Cancer

Esophagectomy – open: Open esophagectomy is an ideal treatment option. This particular type of surgery includes using a tube for transferring food from throat to stomach. Surgical incisions are inserted into neck, chest, and belly.

Endoscopic mucosal resection: During this less invasive procedure, surgeons insert a thin tube down the throat. Depending upon the case, this is also used when the diagnosis process is going on. Specifically, in the early stage of cancer, this procedure is useful in removing the cancer.

Minimally invasive esophagectomy: This surgery is performed in the case of a tiny affected area. Small incisions are used in this procedure. For removing the esophagus, professional oncologists use a laparoscope. This surgical procedure is considered as the most efficient and safe one in comparison to other methods.

If you need more help or guidance, you can always rely on General Surgeons, Dr. Sara Hartsaw and Dr. Jake Rinker of High Plains Surgical Associates. They have been taking care of the citizens of Gillette, Wyoming since 1994.