Oesophageal cancer describes any cancer found in the oesophagus. The oesophagus is more commonly known as the food pipe or gullet and connects your mouth with your stomach. The severity of the cancer will depend on several factors. While it is incredibly worrying, many patients find it is possible to find treatment for their oesophageal cancer.
Types of Oesophageal Cancer
There are two main types of Oesophageal Cancer:
- Adenocarcinoma – this refers to cancerous growths in the lower oesophagus and is often links to Barrett’s Oesophagus
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma – this usually occurs in the upper oesophagus and is related to alcohol consumption and smoking
Early signs of oesophageal cancer include:
- Unusual hoarseness
- Coughing that doesn’t stop over time
- Burning or pressure on the chest
- Unexplained weight loss
- Swallowing difficulties
- Constant or severe indigestion and heartburn
Like any cancer, oesophageal cancer is a worrying prospect and patients want to know the possible outcome if they are experiencing symptoms. Therefore, it is vitally important you visit your doctor as soon as you experience any symptoms you cannot explain. This ensures further investigation is quickly possible.
Diagnosing Oesophageal Cancer
After discussing your symptoms with your GP, a referral to gastroenterology is next. The first diagnostic test will be a gastroscopy which allows the doctor to see inside your oesophagus and stomach. Then, biopsies will be taken for analysis. Then it’s time for diagnosis.
Patients with Barrett’s Oesophagus will be closely monitored for cell changes. Then treatment can begin quickly.
Catching oesophageal cancer is vital for it to be curable. Dr Rehan Haidry offers two endoscopic treatments for patients with different stages of oesophageal cancer:
- Endoscopic Mucosal Resection (EMR) treats early-stage cancerous and precancerous growths.
- Endoscopic Submucosal Dissection (ESD) – to remove large tumours.
EMR is the easier and lower risk procedure of the two, so most doctors will recommend this first to their patients if it is an option. However, it isn’t the best choice when there are larger lesions. This is because it would take much longer than ESD, which can target the whole lesion.
Research has shown that EMR also has a higher lesion recurrence than ESD, which means further therapy may be necessary.
This treatment is not always suitable, and you will have to discuss your options with your whole medical team. More advanced stages of cancer may require further medical intervention. Therapies such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy will also be part of your treatment plan and something to discuss with your oncologist.
Appointments with Dr Rehan Haidry
Dr Haidry treats many patients with different stages of oesophageal cancer. While many patients respond well to the treatments available it is important to have a personalised care plan. Dr Haidry and his team are ready to help and discuss what options may be available to you.