Esophageal Cancer Treatment in Tampa Bay

What is Esophageal Cancer?

Esophageal cancer forms in the tissue that lines the esophagus; a 10-inch long, hollow, muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach. Esophageal cancer begins in the inner layer of the esophageal wall and grows outward. It can sometimes spread to lymph nodes and the blood vessels in nearby organs through the esophageal wall. Esophageal cancer can also spread to the lungs, liver, stomach, and other parts of the body. Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide, so it’s extremely important to catch it as early as possible.

The two most common types of esophageal cancer are:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma. Typically starts in the squamous cells that line the esophagus, and usually develops in the upper and middle parts of the esophagus in the neck or upper chest cavity. Squamous cell carcinoma used to be the most common type of esophageal cancer in the U. S., but now makes up less than 30% of esophageal cancers.
  • Adenocarcinoma. Usually begins in the glandular tissue in the lower part of the esophagus. Some conditions, such as Barrett’s esophagus, in which acid reflux goes on for a long time, can damage the inner lining of the esophagus and may lead to adenocarcinoma.

Tobacco, heavy alcohol use, obesity, and chronic acid reflux are all risk factors for developing esophageal cancer. Typically, more men than women get esophageal cancer.

Treatment of Esophageal Cancer

A treatment plan for either squamous cell carcinoma or adenocarcinoma depends on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, possible side effects, the patient’s preferences, and overall health. If it can be determined that a tumor has not spread beyond the esophagus and lymph nodes, combining different types of treatment is often recommended. Treatment options may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology offers multiple early detection and treatment options for patients with concerns of developing esophageal cancer or patients that have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, including external-beam radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy or brachytherapy.

Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer

Symptoms of esophageal cancer include difficulty swallowing, unusual or unintended weight loss, chronic indigestion or heartburn, pain behind the breastbone, hoarseness in the voice, or a persistent cough. If you experience any of these signs or symptoms persistently, you should schedule a consultation with one of the experts at Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology. Patients with esophageal cancer detected in the very early stages have a much better chance of recovery.

Stomach Cancer

Stomach cancers tend to develop slowly over many years. Before stomach cancer develops, pre-cancerous changes often occur in the inner lining of the stomach. These early changes often go undetected. Cancers that begin in different sections of the stomach cause varying symptoms and have different outcomes. Cancers that grow into the gastrointestinal tract are usually staged and treated the same as cancers of the esophagus.

Contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology today for more information about esophageal cancer and esophageal cancer treatment options. Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology has multiple free-standing Florida facilities located in the Tampa Bay area in Tampa and Brandon.