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Esophageal Cancer Is Rare

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Women Often Find Esophageal Cancer Later Than Men

Esophageal cancer (esophageal carcinoma) is one of the least frequently diagnosed cancers in Germany. Only about 5% of digestive tract cancers are caused by esophageal cancer.

In 2016, about 5,540 men and 1,740 women developed esophageal cancer, according to the Cancer Registry Data Center. The average age at which affected men were diagnosed was 67 years, while women were diagnosed at an average age of 71 years. German men get 3 or 4 times more sick than women.

Occurrence And Forms Of Esophageal Cancer.

malignant tumor of the esophagus

Esophageal cancer usually presents as an uncontrolled, malignant tumor that begins in the lining of the esophagus (throat). Carcinoma of the esophagus is divided into adenocarcinoma, which develops from the glandular cells in the lower part of the esophagus, and the more common squamous cell carcinoma, which develops from the lining (epithelial) cells of the esophagus.

Esophageal Carcinomas Most Often Occur In 3 Physiologic Constrictions:

Esophageal entry (20%)

Aortic stenosis (40%)

membrane density (40%)

Squamous cell carcinomas occur in 50% of the upper and middle third of the esophagus, while adenocarcinomas often occur in the lower third.

Symptoms of esophageal cancer

No Early Detection Possible So Far

In the early stages, esophageal cancer does not usually cause any symptoms. Noticeable symptoms only develop when the esophagus becomes increasingly narrowed by the tumor. Several symptoms are considered important warning signs that should prompt a medical examination:

Who Can Help?

More information



specialized clinics

Clubs and Organizations

Support groups

Risk test | self test

telephone help

prolonged heartburn

Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)

regurgitation of food

loss of appetite

low performance

unwanted weight loss


unexplained vomiting

Causes of esophageal cancer

Food Points Often Promotes Esophageal Cancer

The main risk factors for the growth of esophageal cancer are chronic alcohol consumption, chronic nicotine consumption, and local mucosal damage by acids or alkalis. The simultaneous consumption of alcohol and nicotine also has an increasing effect on the possible development of esophageal cancer. In addition to the main causes, there are other possible risk factors and causes depending on the type of esophageal carcinoma.

Possible Causes And Risk Factors Of Squamous Cell Carcinoma



Radiotherapy to the neck and chest

Head and neck cancer

Dysfunction of the esophagus (achalasia)

Narrowing (stenosis) after chemical burns with acid or alkali

Possible causes and risk factors of adenocarcinoma



Dysfunction of the esophagus (achalasia)

Narrowing (stenosis) after chemical burns with acid or alkali

overweight and obesity

Chronic reflux disease and Barett’s esophagus

Prognosis and consequences of esophageal cancer

The Operation Is Often No Longer Possible

In about half of the patients, an operation is no longer possible by the time the carcinoma is diagnosed and the esophageal cancer has already metastasized (settled) in the local lymph nodes.

Prognosis Of Food Cancer

The general prognosis for esophageal cancer is statistically poor. Carcinomas located in the upper third have a particularly poor prognosis because they have ample opportunity to metastasize to lymph nodes.

For squamous cell carcinomas in particular, treatment options may be limited if there are co-morbidities caused by alcohol and tobacco use.

The average life expectancy for esophageal cancer without surgery is about 6 to 12 months. The 5-year survival rate with surgery is estimated to be around 10-15%, but for cancer of the upper third it is only 2%.

The 10-year relative survival rate is 21% for women and 17% for men.

Diagnostic and examination procedures.

Possible Examination Methods When Suspected Food Cancer

Various methods are used to secure the diagnosis and perform an extended diagnosis:


(Video) endoscopy (EGD) with removal of tissue samples (biopsy)

chromoendoscopy (computer assisted)

Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS)

imaging sonography

Multidetector computed tomography (MDCT)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) therapy

PET/CT (positron emission tomography/computed tomography)

flexible bronchoscopy

diagnostic laparoscopy

Histologic classification and staging of esophageal carcinomas are regularly performed according to the following principles:

WHO classification

TNM classification

Esophageal tumors are defined only as tumors whose center is not more than 5 cm from the esophagogastric junction (transition from the esophagus to the stomach) and extends into the esophagogastric junction. Tumors outside this range are classified as gastric carcinomas.

Possible measures and therapy for esophageal cancer

Different Processes Are Frequently Combined

The treatment of esophageal cancer largely depends on whether surgery is still possible at the time of diagnosis. Surgery to remove large sections of the esophagus offers the only chance of cure.

Surgical procedure: esophageal resection to remove part of the esophagus

Radiation therapy to shrink the tumor before surgery

Radiation therapy for an inoperable tumor

Chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before surgery

In inoperable patients, palliative surgery to keep the esophagus open or therapy to improve quality of life may be used. These include:

Surgical interventions to keep the esophagus open: tube insertion, intestinal interposition, application of PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy)


Antibody therapy (only possible for cancer cells with special structures)

laser therapy

Chemoradiation therapy only in patients without advanced disease

Nutrition Depends On The Condition

The form of nutrition in patients with esophageal cancer largely depends on the individual clinical picture and varies from normal whole foods to nutrition through a PEG tube.

Those affected are recommended a nutritional therapy that counteracts severe underweight and malnutrition in the best possible way, since patients with less physical disability usually cope much better with stressful treatments.

Food Cancer Can Prevent  With An Adequate Nutrition

According to the results of the study, it has been shown that a regular diet with sufficient vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene (precursor of vitamin A), and selenium can significantly reduce the risk of cancer of the esophagus and stomach. For this reason, nutritionists recommend regular consumption of fruits and vegetables, which naturally contain valuable antioxidants.

In addition, it is strongly recommended to reduce the chronic consumption of alcohol and nicotine.

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