Esophageal cancer is malignancy of the esophagus.
There are various subtypes.
Esophageal tumors usually lead to dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), pain and other symptoms, and are diagnosed with biopsy.
Small and localized tumors are treated with surgery, and advanced tumors are treated with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or combinations.
Prognosis depends on the extent of the disease and other medical problems, but is fairly poor.
Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) is the first symptom in most patients.
Odynophagia (painful swallowing) may be present.
Fluids and soft foods are usually tolerated, while hard or bulky substances (such as bread or meat) cause much more difficulty.
Substantial weight loss is characteristic as a result of poor nutrition and the active cancer.
Pain, often of a burning nature, may be severe and worsened by swallowing, and can be spasmodic in character.