April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month

April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month

Learn more about esophageal cancer during April, which is esophageal Cancer Awareness Month.

Esophageal cancer has two different types.

Adenocarcinoma – Caused from long-term acid reflux disease.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma – A result of smoking and drinking in excess.

Esophageal Cancer is deadly, and the number of people being diagnosed with this cancer are increasing rapidly.

According to the American Cancer Society, in 2020 about 18,440 new esophageal cancer cases will be diagnosed and 16,170 deaths will occur from this cancer.

United States Esophageal Cancer Survival

  • Esophageal cancer makes up about 1% of all cancers diagnosed in the US.
  • Most people do not realize that chronic heartburn or acid reflux is a primary risk factor.
  • You may not experience symptoms until the cancer has spread and is difficult to treat effectively.
  • During the 1960s and 1970s, only about 5% of patients survived over 5 years. Now that rate is up to 20%.
  • In 2019 there were an estimated 17,650 diagnosis with over 16,080 deaths.

Stages of Esophageal Cancer

When someone is diagnosed with esophageal cancer, doctors will try to figure out what stage it is in. This will determine how serious the cancer is and what the best course of treatment will be.

  1. The earliest stage is called stage 0 (high grade dysplasia)
  2. Then it ranges from I through IV
  3. The lower the number, the less it has spread.

How is the stage of cancer determined?

  1. The size of the tumor
  2. Has the cancer spread to lymph nodes?
  3. The metastasis to distant lymph nodes or organs.

Staging systems for Esophageal Cancer

Pathological stage or surgery stage.

This is determined by examining tissue removed during surgery. It is also the most common system used.

Clinical Stage

If the surgery isn’t possible or will be done after other treatments then the clinical stage is determined by results of exam, biopsy and imaging.

Postneoadjuvant Stage

If chemo or radiation is given before surgery, then you receive neoadjuvant therapy. After this and separate stage will be determined after surgery.

The Scale for grading esphagus cancers is 1 – 3

  • GX – or grade unknown
  • Grade 1 well differentiated or low grade. (the cancer cells look more like normal esophagus cells)
  • Grade 2 is moderately differentiated.
  • Grade 3 is poorly differentiated (the cancer cells look very abnormal)

Treatments for Esophagus Cancer

Local Treatments treat the tumor in a specific location. This tends to be more useful in the early stages. This includes surgery, radiation therapy and endoscopic treatments.

Systemic treatments are drugs that are taken by mouth or directly into the blood. These therapies travel through the whole body allowing them to reach cancer cells anywhere in the body. This includes chemotherapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.

The stage of the cancer determines the type of treatment. Treatments can also be combined or used one after the other.

Esophageal Cancer disease in increasing. Unfortunately, only people who catch this cancer at the earliest stages are likely to be cured. It is so important to detect this cancer early. We are spreading awareness and advocating early detection.

If you or a family member suspect an esophagus related disorder,  Schedule an appointment today!.