Esophageal cancer (or oesophageal cancer) is cancer arising from the esophagus—the food pipe that runs between the throat and the stomach. Symptoms often include difficulty in swallowing and weight loss. Other symptoms may include pain when swallowing, a hoarse voice, enlarged lymph nodes (glands) around the collarbone, a dry cough, and possibly coughing up or vomiting blood.
The two main sub-types of the disease are esophageal squamous-cell carcinoma (often abbreviated to ESCC), which is more common in the developing world, and esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC), which is more common in the developed world. A number of less common types also occur. Squamous-cell carcinoma arises from the epithelial cells that line the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma arises from glandular cells present in the lower third of the esophagus, often where they have already transformed to intestinal cell type (a condition known as Barrett's esophagus). The most common causes of the squamous-cell type are: tobacco, alcohol, very hot drinks, and a poor diet. The most common causes of the adenocarcinoma type are smoking tobacco, obesity, and acid reflux.
The disease is diagnosed by biopsy done by an endoscope (a fiberoptic camera). Prevention includes stopping smoking and eating a healthy diet. Treatment is based on the cancer's stage and location, together with the person's general condition and individual preferences