What Is Cancer Of The Esophagus?
Cancer of the esophagus is a malignancy arising in the stratified squamous cell lining of any part of the esophagus and having a poor prognosis.
This tumor first invades the deeper layers of the esophagus which includes the layer beneath the mucosa (submucosa) and muscle before it may invade structures close to it including the aorta and trachea. Later, it may spread to organs further away such as the liver, lungs and bones.
Q: What is the stratified squamous cell lining of the esophagus?
A: Stratified squamous cells are flat epithelial cells that are composed of several layers, called the epithelium. This type of epithelium forms the surface mucosa that lines the inside of the esophagus.
The esophagus itself is a muscular tube that transports swallowed substances to the stomach. It begins at the cricoid cartilage (Adam’s apple) as a continuation of the pharynx in the throat and ends at the lower esophageal sphincter (LES).
The LES is a circular muscle surrounding the junction of the esophagus and stomach. The LES opens to allow swallowed food and liquids to enter the stomach and closes to prevent their travelling back into the esophagus.
Who is Affected in the General Population?
Esophageal cancer is the fifth leading cause of death in men from cancer worldwide.1
What Is Cancer Of The Esophagus In Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity?
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Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ. Sleisenger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. ed 9. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2010. pp. 745–767. ↩