Esophageal Cancer is a malignant condition in which uncontrollable cell growth occurs in tissues of the esophagus. Esophageal carcinoma is a disease that has just entered the epidemiological phase. Cells in any part of the human body can become cancerous and spread to other parts of the body. Esophageal carcinoma is caused by abnormal cells that grow uncontrollably in the esophageal tissues. The cells eventually grow into a mass known as a tumour.
The esophageal walls has different layers:
- Mucosa Mucosa refers to the inner lining of the esophageal area. It is divided into three parts:
The epithelium, also known as squamous cell, is the innermost lining of the esophagus. It usually consists of flat and thin cells. Most cancers of the esophagus begin in this area.
The lamina prima is an extremely thin layer of connective tissues that lies directly under the epithelium.
The mucosa muscularis is a very thin layer of muscle located under the lamina prima.
- SubmucosaThis connective tissue layer just below the mucosa has blood vessels and nerves. This layer is also found in some parts of esophagus. These glands secrete mucus.
- Muscularis prima: The thick layer of muscle under the submucosa. Its contraction is coordinated to push food from the throat to the stomach area down to the esophagus.
- Adventitia The outermost layer of the esophagus, made up by connective tissues.
Cancer of the esophagus can develop anywhere along its length. The cancer begins to grow in the innermost layer of the esophagus and then spreads outward. The esophagus is a hollow muscular passageway which moves liquids and food from the throat down to the stomach. The esophagus wall is composed of different tissues, including the mucous tissue, connective tissue and muscle.
The upper esophageal muscle ring (also known as the upper-esophageal muscles) is responsible for relaxing the esophagus to allow it to expand when the food or liquid is near. Food and liquids are transported through the esophagus’ lumen (the inside) when you swallow. The lower esophageal area that contacts the stomach is known as the Gastroesophageal junction. The lower esophageal muscle ring, located near the gastroesophageal joint, controls the movement of food from the esophageal area into the stomach.
Cancers that begin in the oesophageal region are more common among males. According to the American Cancer Society, the American Cancer Society estimates that esophageal carcinoma will be prevalent in the United States by 2022.
- Around 20,640 new cases were diagnosed of esophageal carcinoma (16,510 males and 4130 females).
- Around 16,410 deaths are caused by esophageal carcinoma (13,250 males and 3160 females).
Esophageal Cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer death in the world. The rates of incidence vary between different geographical locations.