November 30, 2015
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Esophageal Cancer (cont.)

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What is the esophagus?

The esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach, allowing food and liquid to be swallowed. There are muscles that encircle the esophagus that allow it to contract and push food and liquid toward the stomach. When cancer cells develop in the tissues of this muscular tube, it is defined as esophageal cancer.

What is esophageal cancer?

Esophageal cancer describes the disease where cells that line the esophagus change or mutate and become malignant. These cells grow out of control and form a tumor.

There are two main types of esophageal cancer:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma affects the squamous cells and usually develops within the middle third of the esophagus. Squamous cells describe thin, flat cells that line the inner surface of the mid-portion of the esophagus.
  • Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus affects the lower third of the esophagus. This type of cancer arises from the glandular cells found in that area of the esophagus.

There are more rare forms of cancer that affect the esophagus, including lymphoma, malignant melanoma, sarcoma, choriocarcinoma, and small cell cancer.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/6/2015



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