What is oesophageal cancer? Oesophageal cancer begins from abnormal cells in the innermost layer (mucosa) of the oesophagus. A tumour can start at any point along the length of the oesophagus. If it is not found and treated early, oesophageal cancer can spread through the lymphatic system to nearby lymph nodes or through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, most commonly the liver. It can also grow through the oesophageal wall and invade the windpipe and lungs. Learn more about: The oesophagus and digestive system Types of oesophageal cancer What are the risk factors? Who gets oesophageal cancer?
The oesophagus and digestive system The oesophagus and stomach are part of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which is part of the digestive system. The digestive system helps the body break down food and turn it into energy. The oesophagus (food pipe or gullet) is a long, muscular tube that delivers food, fluids and saliva from the mouth and throat to the stomach. A valve (sphincter) at the end of the oesophagus stops acid and food moving from the stomach back into the oesophagus. The stomach is a hollow, muscular organ in the upper left part of the abdomen, located between the end of the oesophagus and the beginning of the small bowel (small intestine). The stomach expands to store food that has been swallowed. It also helps with the absorption of some vitamins and minerals. In the stomach, acidic (gastric) juices are released from glands in the stomach lining (mucosa). These juices break down food into a thick fluid, which then moves into the small bowel. In the small bowel, nutrients from the broken-down food are absorbed into the bloodstream. The waste matter moves into the large bowel (large intestine), where fluids are reabsorbed back into the body. The solid waste matter is passed out of the body as a bowel movement.
The stomach and the oesophagus
The different layers of tissue (known as the wall) in the oesophagus include: mucosa (moist innermost layer) – made up of squamous cells submucosa (supports the mucosa) – glands in the submucosa produce fluid (mucus), which helps to move food through the oesophagus muscle layer – known as the muscularis propria, it produces contractions to help push food down the oesophagus and into the stomach outer layer – known as the adventitia, it consists of connective tissue supporting the oesophagus.
Types of oesophageal cancer Oesophageal cancer can occur in different types of cells that exist in the oesophagus. The two main subtypes are: Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma – starts in the thin, flat cells in the lining of the oesophagus, which are called squamous cells. It often begins in the middle and upper part of the oesophagus. In Australia, squamous cell carcinomas are less common than adenocarcinomas. Oesophageal adenocarcinoma – Barrett’s oesophagus occurs when the squamous cells lining the lower section of the oesophagus change into glandular cells. A tumour that starts in glandular cells is called an adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinomas are now the most common form of oesophageal cancer in Australia.
Less common types of cancer Other less common types of cancer can affect the stomach and oesophagus. These include small cell carcinomas, lymphomas, neuroendocrine tumours, and gastrointestinal stromal tumours. These types of cancer aren’t discussed here and treatment may be different. Call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for information about these types of cancer, or speak to someone in your medical team.
What are the risk factors? The exact causes of oesophageal cancer are unknown, but the factors listed below may increase your risk. However, having one or more of these risk factors does not mean you will develop cancer. Some known risk factors for oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma include: alcohol consumption smoking older age (being over 60) infection with human papilloma virus (HPV) Some known risk factors for oesophageal adenocarcinoma include: being overweight or obese medical conditions, including gastrooesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and Barrett’s oesophagus smoking older age (being over 60) a personal or family history of gastro-oesophageal disorders, such as hernia, polyps, ulceration or oesophagitis
GORD and Barrett’s oesophagus Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and Barrett’s oesophagus are risk factors for oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Reflux is when stomach acid backs up into the oesophagus. People who have repeated episodes of reflux may be diagnosed with GORD. Over time, stomach acid can damage the walls of the oesophagus, causing inflammation or ulceration (oesophagitis). In some people, this may cause the squamous cells lining the oesophagus to be replaced by glandular cells. This condition, called Barrett’s oesophagus, can lead to oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Most people with Barrett’s oesophagus will not develop oesophageal cancer.
Who gets oesophageal cancer? This is an uncommon cancer. In Australia, about 1400 people are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer each year. Men are nearly three times more likely than women to be diagnosed with this cancer. It is more common in people over 60, but can occur at any age. About one in 158 men and one in 575 women are likely to develop oesophageal cancer before the age of 75. This information was last reviewed in September 2017
View who reviewed this content View our editorial policy
Support services Coping with cancer? Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum Need legal and financial assistance? Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans Looking for transport, accommodation or home help? Practical advice and support during and after treatment
Cancer information What is cancer? How cancer starts and spreads Dealing with the diagnosis Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis and how to find hope View our publications Guides and fact sheets for people with cancer, their families and friends SHARE
Oesophageal Cancer | Cancer Council NSW
Together we will beat cancer
Search Cancer Council
Home > Oesophageal cancer Glossary
What is oesophageal cancer? Oesophageal cancer begin...
Jan 3, 2018 - Oesophageal cancer (or esophageal cancer – U.S spelling) is a malignant tumour found anywhere in the oesophagus. ... Palliative care care aims to improve quality of life without trying to cure the disease, by alleviating symptoms of oes
Nov 1, 2015 - During oesophageal cancer surgery, the surgeon will remove the cancerous tissue, including part of the oesophagus, the upper part of the stomach, and some nearby lymph .... Your health care team can help you manage these side effects an
Oesophageal cancer (cancer of the gullet) is a malignancy that originates in the oesophagus. It is diagnosed in men approximately twice as often as in women, due to reasons such as smoking and alcohol drinking habits. Its incidence has been...
May 17, 2016 - Treatment. Your treatment depends on where in the oesophagus (food pipe) your cancer is, how big it is, whether it has spread anywhere else in your body and your general health. A team of doctors and other professionals discuss the bes
Read about palliative care of people with oesophageal cancer in the November 2011 issue of Cancer Forum.
MINI CARROT CAKE RECIPE. Serves: 12 |Preparation time: 15 |Cooking time: 25 minutes. Ingredients. Spray oil, if using. 1Â½ cups self-raising wholemeal flour. 1Â½ teaspoons cinnamon. Â¼ teaspoon ground ginger. Â¼ cup sugar. 1 egg, slightly beaten. 3 t
Iron deficiency was once a common cause of cancers in the upper gullet, especially in pregnant women. But thanks to improved diet and ante-natal care, the problem has virtually disappeared. Barrett´s oesophagus (a condition caused by acid reflux and
Find out about oesophageal cancer, including what the symptoms are, why it occurs and what the main treatments are.
Oesophageal cancer occurs most commonly in the elderly. It is more common in men than women.
Treatment of oesophageal cancer will depend on the size of the cancer, whether it has spread, your age and general state of health. ... and Oesophageal cancers, Nov 2013. http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/stomach-oesophageal-cancer/ (accessed Nov 2015)
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). (Mayo Clinic; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center; National Foundation for Cancer. Research; Cancer Research UK; Cancer.Net; MedicineNet.com). Signs and Symptoms of Oesophageal Cancer. The following ar
Results 1 - 10 of 2140 - Evidence-based information on oesophageal cancer from hundreds of trustworthy sources for health and social care. Make better, quicker, evidence based decisions. Evidence search provides access to selected and authoritative e
This section provides information about oesophageal cancer.This includes its causes, risk factors, symptoms, how it is diagnosed and the different types of treatment available. About oesophageal can...
Once oesophageal cancer has been diagnosed, the next step is to identify the size and exact location of the tumour.
Oesophageal cancer is cancer of the gullet (oesophagus). It is uncommon in the UK. Most cases occur in people over the age of 55, although younger people are sometimes affected. Those diagnosed at an early stage have the best chance of a cure. The ea
Oesophageal cancer, or cancer of the oesophagus, may also be referred to as cancer of the gullet or food pipe. ... Cancer health centre ... Symptoms of oesophageal cancer usually do not show up until the disease has reached an advanced stage. The mos
Chris O'Brien Lifehouse is a world-class not-for-profit integrated cancer treatment centre, and is now a fully operational cancer hospital with the opening of our inpatient services.
Feb 8, 2018 - Oesophageal cancer grows in the muscular tube which connects our mouth to the stomach. The main type of oesophageal cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, growing in the lining of the oesophagus. Read more information about oesophageal canc
If your results show signs of oesophageal cancer, you'll usually see a surgeon. An oncologist (a doctor who specialises in cancer care) may also be involved in your care. They'll work with a team of health professionals who specialise in cancer to as
The OCCAMS (Oesophageal Cancer Clinical and Molecular Stratification) study is a network of clinical centres recruiting OAC patients for tissue collection. OAC patient data and tissue samples are used to attempt to identify clinical, demographic and