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Esophageal Cancer

Cancer that forms in tissues lining the esophagus (the muscular tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach). Two types of esophageal cancer are squamous cell carcinoma (cancer that begins in flat cells lining the esophagus) and adenocarcinoma (cancer that begins in cells that make and release mucus and other fluids).

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the esophagus.

The esophagus is the hollow, muscular tube that moves food and liquid from the throat to the stomach. The wall of the esophagus is made up of several layers of tissue, including mucous membrane, muscle, and connective tissue. Esophageal cancer starts at the inside lining of the esophagus and spreads outward through the other layers as it grows.

The two most common forms of esophageal cancer are named for the type of cells that become malignant (cancerous):

Read more about Esophageal Cancer

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Systematic review of external beam radiotherapy plus brachytherapy in treatment of patients with inoperable esophageal cancer

Bibliographic details: Luo HT, Wang XH, Wei SH, Tian JH, Yang KH.  Systematic review of external beam radiotherapy plus brachytherapy in treatment of patients with inoperable esophageal cancer. Chinese Journal of Cancer Prevention and Treatment 2010; 17(20): 1665-1668

[Efficacy of preoperative chemoradiotherapy plus surgery versus surgery alone for resectable esophageal carcinoma: a meta-analysis]

Bibliographic details: Jin HL, Han ST, Li WJ, Wu DP.  [Efficacy of preoperative chemoradiotherapy plus surgery versus surgery alone for resectable esophageal carcinoma: a meta-analysis]. World Chinese Journal of Digestology 2011; 19(27): 2869-2875

[Meta-analysis of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for esophageal cancer]

Bibliographic details: Meng FL, Tian JH, Ma L.  [Meta-analysis of neoadjuvant chemotherapy for esophageal cancer]. Chinese Journal of Cancer Prevention and Treatment 2011; 18(23): 1864-1869

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Summaries for consumers

Esophageal Cancer Prevention (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about factors that may influence the risk of developing esophageal cancer and about research aimed at the prevention of this disease.

Esophageal Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about tests used to detect or screen for esophageal cancer.

Esophageal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of esophageal cancer.

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More about Esophageal Cancer

Photo of an adult man

Also called: Oesophageal cancer, Esophageal neoplasm, Cancer of the esophagus, Esophageal carcinoma

Other terms to know:
Esophagus

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