Know Your Disease
The oesophagus, a long, muscular tube, is responsible for carrying food, fluids, and saliva from the throat to the stomach. Oesophageal cancer is caused by the formation of malignant cells in the tissues of the oesophagus, which multiply to form a tumour, says Dr. Soumen Das who is considered to be a renowned cancer doctor in Kolkata.
In general, the symptoms of oesophageal cancer do not appear until the oesophagus is large enough to constrict. Cancer also progresses beyond the oesophagus and spreads to surrounding tissues or distant organs of the body before being diagnosed.
Patients having this cancer may experience the following symptoms:
- Cough, vomiting
- Dysphagia, i.e., difficulty swallowing
- Chest pressure, burning or pain
- Vague weight loss
- Heartburn or indigestion
According to the best oesophageal cancer surgeon in Kolkata, the types of oesophageal cancer are:
- Squamous cell carcinoma: It occurs in the cells lining the oesophagus. This type of cancer usually occurs in the upper and middle part of the oesophagus and is regarded as the most common cancer in the world.
- Adenocarcinoma: It occurs in the cells of the oesophagus gland. Usually, it develops in the lower part of the oesophagus, which is closer to the stomach.
Other rare types of oesophageal cancer include small cell carcinoma, sarcoma, lymphoma, melanoma, and choriocarcinoma.
Treatment of oesophageal cancer is advised based on the stage of the cancer and the patient’s current health. Oesophageal cancer treatment in Kolkata includes the following:
- Surgery – If the cancer has not spread to the superficial layers of the oesophagus or distant organs, the doctor may use an endoscope to remove the cutter tumor. In severe cases, a portion of the surrounding oesophagus and lymph nodes are also removed. Next, the stomach or large intestine is reconstituted to enable feeding. If this is not possible, percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy may be used by the oesophageal cancer surgeon in which a tube is passed through the abdominal wall into the patient’s abdomen to allow tube feeding.
- Chemotherapy – involves the use of drugs to inhibit the growth and division of cancer cells. It can be utilized either before or after the surgery.
- Radiation Therapy – It uses a beam of radiation to attack cancer cells. Radiation can be administered externally with the help of a machine or temporarily by inserting a radioactive wire into the oesophagus.
- Targeted therapy – is a therapy that targets cancer-specific genes that inhibit the growth and spread of the cancerous cells while limiting damage to healthy cells. Primarily, there are two types of targeted therapy – monoclonal antibodies and small-molecular drugs. Known as immunotherapy, it only works by killing tumor cells; Unlike chemotherapy, which can also destroy healthy cells as a side effect.
- Photodynamic therapy – Light therapy can be used if the cancer cells are small in size and have only one space limit. As part of the treatment, the photosensitizing drug is injected into the patient’s body where the cells absorb and concentrate the drug for a longer period of time. The drug helps to kill cancer cells when the patient is exposed to laser lights of a certain wavelength.