Esophageal cancer, which caused the death ofon Saturday, occurs when cancer cells develop in the esophagus. The cancer initially hits the inner layer of the esophagus and then stretches out to the rest of the body.
In the United States, more than 17,000 people will be diagnosed with esophageal cancer and more than 15,000 will die from it this year, according to the American Cancer Society.
The symptoms of esophageal cancer are found to be the same as that of other types of cancers. Popular symptoms of esophageal cancer include, pain while swallowing water and food products, weight loss, coughing (unpopular symptom), hoarseness and indigestion, etc.
Major factors that cause esophageal cancer include smoking, extra use of alcohol and Gastro esophageal reflux disease. Doctors insist that these factors can be easily taken care of, if the person affected is willing to avoid them.
Methods used to diagnose esophageal cancer are biopsy and endoscopy. However another advanced method of detecting the disease speedily is swallowing a barium x-ray. The liquid used in these test stands out in the x-ray, so that the doctor can easily identify the problems associated with the esophagus.
"We think that patients with esophageal cancer have the best chance to survive this cancer when they are treated with preoperative chemo-radiotherapy followed by surgery," said lead researcher Dr. Ate van der Gaast, from the medical oncology department at Erasmus University Hospital in Rotterdam. "By giving preoperative chemo-radiotherapy, more patients are cured than with surgery alone."
Esophageal cancer treatment has good chances of success, if the disease is found at its initial stage. The methods for treatment are surgery; this may result in removal of esophagus. The second method includes the Chemotherapy and the radiation, to kill the cancer causing cells with powerful radiation and strong chemicals.
Recently a research that published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the patients who received chemotherapy and radiation treatment instead of the esophagus operation lived more years compared to the ones who underwent operation directly.