What is Adenocarcinoma of the Esophagus or Esophageal adenocarcinoma?Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus also known as Esophageal adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that forms in the glandular cells of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. It is one of the two main types of esophageal cancer, with the other being squamous cell carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is more commonly found in the lower part of the esophagus and is often associated with a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, where chronic acid reflux leads to changes in the esophageal lining.
SymptomsSymptoms of esophageal adenocarcinoma may include:
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), initially with solid foods and then with liquids as the tumour grows.
- Unintentional weight loss.
- Chest pain or discomfort.
- Chronic cough or hoarseness.
- Indigestion or heartburn.
- Vomiting or regurgitation of food.
Disease Aetiology (Causes)The exact cause of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus is not fully understood, but several risk factors have been identified:
- Chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Barrett’s esophagus.
- Obesity, particularly fat accumulation around the abdomen.
- Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables.
- Being male and over the age of 50.
DiagnosisDiagnosing adenocarcinoma of the esophagus typically involves:
- Endoscopy: A procedure using a flexible tube with a camera to examine the esophagus and take tissue samples (biopsy).
- Imaging Tests: Including barium swallow X-rays, CT scans, MRI, and PET scans to assess the extent of the cancer.
- Biopsy: Microscopic examination of the tissue sample to confirm the diagnosis.
TreatmentTreatment for esophageal adenocarcinoma depends on the stage of the cancer and may include:
- Surgery: To remove the tumour and some surrounding tissue, possibly including part of the esophagus and nearby lymph nodes.
- Chemotherapy: Often used before surgery (neoadjuvant) to shrink the tumour or after surgery (adjuvant) to kill any remaining cancer cells.
- Radiation Therapy: Usually combined with chemotherapy, either before or after surgery.
- Targeted Therapy: For tumors with specific genetic changes.
- Immunotherapy: Used in certain cases, especially for advanced or metastatic cancer.