What is Small Cell Carcinoma of the Esophagus?Small cell carcinoma of the esophagus is a rare type of cancer of the esophagus and accounts for approximately 0.1 to 2.4% of all cancers of the esophagus. It is a high grade tumor that tends to grow rapidly and spread to the other distant parts of the body. The overall survival rate of patients with small cell carcinoma of the esophagus is poor.
Disease CausesThere is no well-known cause, but GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), smoking, obesity, alcohol consumption, hot food consumption, and previous radiation therapy are the dominant risk factors for developing small cell carcinoma of the esophagus.
Signs and SymptomsThe patient may suffer from the following signs and symptoms. These are
- Dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing)
- Chest pain
- The feeling of pressure on the chest
- Burning in chest, heartburn
- Hoarseness of voice
- Hematemesis (vomiting of blood)
- Coughing while eating and drinking
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
DiagnosisThe following diagnostic techniques and procedures can be used to make a diagnosis. These are
- Barium meal: This is a procedure in which the patient is asked to swallow a radio-contrast agent, commonly known as barium sulfate, and then a series of X-rays are taken to see the esophagus and stomach to find a tumor.
- Endoscopy with tumor biopsy: Endoscopy is a procedure in which an endoscope is used to see the internal hollow organs of the body to detect the pathology or disease.
What is an Endoscope?It is an illuminated instrument that is used to see tube-like hollow organs of the body to detect pathology or disease.
- Ultrasonography (USG), Computerized tomography (CT-scan), and positron emission tomography (PET-scan) are the imaging diagnostic techniques that can be used to detect the site, size, and extent of the tumor.