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Acta Chir Scand. 1989 Apr-May;155(4-5):269-71.

Lye ingestion and carcinoma of the esophagus.

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Department of Surgery, Tampere University Central Hospital, Finland.


Fifteen cases of carcinoma of the esophagus associated with a history of lye ingestion are presented. They compromised 3% of the total patients treated for esophageal carcinoma in 1964-1986. The mean age of the ten women and five men was 57 years and the average time from corrosion injury to diagnosis of carcinoma was 58 years in the men and 47 years in the women. Most of the patients had accidentally swallowed liquid lye at 2-3 years of age. All 15 tumors were squamous cell carcinoma, and 11 were located at the level of the tracheal bifurcation. Esophageal resection was possible in ten cases. The survival rate in the total series was 40% at 1 year and 13% at 5 years. Because of the high carcinoma risk, patients with corrosion injury to the esophagus should be kept under surveillance that includes regularly repeated esophagoscopy, cytologic study of washings and biopsy at least when the time from the injury exceeds 20 years.

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