Esophageal cancer
Espophagus or gullet, an organ in vertebrates, is the tube that lead foods from the pharynx to the stomach. Esophageal cancer is not very uncommon and caused by malignant of the esophagus due to abnormal cell growth as a result of the DNA alternation of the cells that line the upper part of the esophagus or glandular cells that are present at the lower part of the esophagus that connected with the stomach.
The esophageal cancer tend to spread if it left untreated and starts from the lining of esophagus, then later penetrate in the the wall of the esophagus and spread to the lumph node around the bottom of the esophagus, stomach and the chest, then to the distant parts of the body.

Types of Esophageal cancer
1. Squamous cancer
In the upper part of the esophagus caused by the squamous cell of which have become malignant caused by mutation of DNA in cells replication of division uncontrollably.
2. Adenocarcinomas
In the lower part of the esophagus caused by the glandular cells of which have become malignant caused by mutation of DNA in cells replication of division uncontrollably.

1. Dysphagia
Difficult swallowing or pain caused by refluxing or swallowing
2. Weight loss
Due to uncomfort in eating and drinking
3. Heartburn
Painful burning feeling in the chest or throat caused by refluxing or swallowing of food
4. Pain in the throat or back, behind the breastbone
As a result of foods going down to improperly due to the tumor,it can be severe, present itself almost daily
5. Hoarseness or coughing
Due to affects to the vocal cord
6. Coughing blood
Caused by bleeding from the tumors.
7. Nausea and vomiting
Due to the disruption of normal swallowing reflex.
8. frequent pneumonia
Inflammation of the lung caused by foods and liquid go in the lung instead of the esophagus.
9. Etc.

Causes and risk factors
1. Age
Esophaeal cancer is an aging disease, most patients are over 60.
2. Sex
It is more common in men may be due to diet, smoking and alcohol drink habits
3. Genetic passing through
The risk of esophageal cancer increased if a direct family was diagnosed of the same.
4. Smoking and heavy alcohol drinking
Heavy alcohol drinking and smoking account for over 90% of all squamous cancer increase the risk, and together appear to increase the risk more than either individually.
5. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
A chronic or prolonged period of reflux, leading to the changing of the lining of esophagus cause of esophageal cancer.
6. Diet
In some parts of world included certain substance such as nitresamine, nitrite and dietary deficiency may increase the risk of esophageal cancer.
7. Previous head and neck injured
Previous head and neck cancers increases the risk of the same and esophageal cancer.
8. Obesity
Obesity increases the risk of reflux.
9. Thermal injure
Prolonged thermal injure to the esophagus due to the love of hot fluids or soups causes damage to the esophagus
10. Achalasia
A health condition of esophageal motility disorder caused by uncoordinated or weaken muscular contractions that interferes with swallowing of food down to the esophagus.
11. Etc.

Diagnosis and tests
If you have some of the symptoms above, beside physical examination, here are some test that your doctor may order
1. Endoscopy
Endoscope is a medical instrument either a rigid or flexible tube with a lens attached, used by your doctor to examine the esophagus to check for any abnormal growth.

2. CT (Computerized axial tomography) scan
A CT scan generates a large series of two-dimensional X-ray images taken around a single axis of rotation, to create a three-dimensional picture of the inside of the body in details.The pictures are viewed by your doctor to see the extent of the tumors abnormalities, such as spreding of cancer to the nearby structure and lymph nodes.

3. Barium X ray
Barium X ray is a type of X ray that the patient require to drinks a solution that contains barium, which is a dense liquid that will show up white under x-rays, allowing the tumor to be seen.

4. Biopsy
In biopsy, a small amount of tissue from the suspicious area is taken to be examined by a pathologist to viewthe biological characteristics of the esophageal cancer(a doctor who specializes in interpreting laboratory tests and evaluating cells, tissues, and organs to diagnose disease).

4. Endoscopic ultrasound examination
Sometime, it may be necessary to use endoscopic ultrasound examination to determine the size and penetration of the esophageal cancer by delivering ultrasound (sound waves beyond our limit of hearing) with the insert of a beam in to the esophagus and taking pictures based on the ultrasound pattern produced at the site of the tumor.

5. Etc.

Stages of esophageal cancer
A. Stages of cancer is normally divided according to the distance of spreading
1. Stage 0 (Non invasive cancer)
In stage 0, abnormal cells are found in surface of the inner lining of the esophageal tissue. If left untreated, it can become malignant and spread into other layers of esophageal tissue and distant parts of the body.
2. Stage I
In stage I, cancer has formed and spread deep into the inner layer lining of esophagus toward other layers of the esophagus.
3. Stage II
In stage II esophageal cancer
a. Stage IIA: Cancer has invaded the layer of the muscle or to the outer layer of the esophagus.
b. Stage IIB: Cancer may have penetrated through the outer layer but not outer the wall of esophagus and to nearby to nearby lymph nodes.
4. Stage III
In stage III, cancer has invaded the outer wall of the esophagus and lymph nodes near the esophagus.
5. Stage IV
a. Stage IVA: Cancer has spread to nearby or distant lymph nodes.
b. Stage IVB: Cancer has spread to distant lymph nodes and/or organs in other parts of the body.

A. How to avoid
1. Medicine
Taking medicine such as aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may reduce the risk of Esophageal cancer. Researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center suggested that aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs disrupt the pathway, slow the growth of abnormal cells and facilitate the normal process of apoptosis.

2. Smoking and heavy alcohol drinking
Heavy alcohol drinking and smoking account for over 90% of all squamous cancer increase the risk, and together appear to increase the risk more than either individually.

3. Avoid very hot foods
Food that are very hot can cause damage to the esophagus. Eating very hot foos for a prolonged period of time can cause infection that lead to esophageal cancer.

4. Reduce in take of fried, baked and roasted food
Fried, baked and roasted food contain acrylamide, a potentially cancer-causing carcinogenic chemical. In animal lab studies showed that large exposures to acrylamide may cause health problems, including damage to the nervous system and increased risk of cancer, including esophageal cancer.

5. Maintain a healthy weight
Researcher suggested that avoiding excessive weight gain and obesity may lower your risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma and further study, although that remains to be tested.

6. Etc.

B. With diet
1. Antioxidant
Intake of food with high amount of antioxidant reduces the risk of esophageal cancer, due to thier ability to inhibit free radical before it can cause any damage to the DNA of cells. Antioxidants also enhance the immune system to fight against abnormal cells growth, inflammation infection, thus decreased risk of the disease.

2. Cruciferous
Diet high in Cruciferous such as brocoli, cabbage, sprout reduced risk of the diseases due to contain high amount of glucosinolates, indole 3 carbinol, and sulphoraphane which demonstrated the anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties in some studies.

3. Coffee
Researchers found that moderate drinking coffee can reduce the risk of esophageal cancer.

4. Green tea
Green contains high amount of antioxidants and cancer-fighting catechins that can helps to protect the esophageal cells' DNA from mutation that leads to cancerous growth.

5. Healthy fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain high amount of antioxidants and photochemical, such as flavonoids, phenols, and terpenes are found to reduce the risk of cancers, including esophageal cancer.

6. Etc.

C. With nutritional supplement
Presented at the 4th International Conference on Anticarcinogenesis & Radiation Protection April 18–23, 1993, Baltimore, MD. Researchers found that intake combination of the below is found to prevent onset of esophageal cancer in the in Linxian region of China.

Participants who were taken beta-carotene, vitamin E, and selenium conbination had a 42% reduction in esophageal cancer prevalence and the cancer mortality over the entire 5.25-year period was significantly reduced.

Types of treatment
A. In conventional medicine
The importance of treatment of the esophageal cancer is determined by whether the cancer has spread and can the cancer be completely removed, depending to the location. Esophageal cancer is a major operation and require considerable care afterward.
1. Surgery
Surgery is the most common treatment for esophageal cancer. If the cancer has not spread and is in lower or middle part of the esophagus, the surgeon may remove the tumor along with all or a portion of the esophagus and the upper part of the stomach then reconnects the remaining healthy part of the esophagus to the stomach if possible. If not then either a plastic tube or part of the colon is used to make the connection.
Sometime, if the cancer is growth large enough blocking or threatening to block the esophagus, a gastronomy is necessary to place a tube directly into your stomach.

2. Radio therapy
Radiation therapy or radiotherapy use of high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. If the esophageal cancer is on the upper part of the esopgagus, radio therapy is a choice to use to kill the cancer cells. In other case, if surgery is not feasible, radio therapy is used to relieve pain and make swallowing easier or combination with chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before surgery. Even if the tumor cannot be removed by surgery or destroyed entirely by radiation therapy, it can also often help relieve pain and make swallowing easier.

3. Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy, most of the time uses medications to eliminate cancer cells with IV by giving of medicine directly into a vein or taking orally. As the medications travel through our bloodstream, they kill cancer cells throughout the body including the cancer of Esophagus. Chemotherapy may be combined with radiation therapy to shrink the tumor before surgery, if the surgery is not feasible in the first place.

4. Laser therapy
If cancer can not be treat by surgery, laser therapy may be used to destroy cancerous tissue and relieve a blockage and symptoms of esophageal cancer by using high-intensity light to destroy tumor cells only in the treated area.

5. Etc.

B. In herbal medicine
1. Red Clover
Red Clover is a perennial herb, genus Trifolium, belonging to the family Fabaceae, native to Europe, Western Asia and northwest Africa. It has been used in herbal medicine to treat cancer due to its anti-cancer and anti-tumor genistein by preventing new blood vessels from forming within a tumor.

2. Mistletoe
Mistletoe is the common name for a group of hemi-parasitic plants and a western herb, genus Viscum, belonging to the family Santalaceae, native in Great Britain and much of Europe. In vitro researcher found that polypeptides, including lectins and viscotoxins, substances in mistletoe are thought responsible for immune stimulant and tumor inhibition activities.

3. Viola odorata
Viola odorata is also known as Sweet Violet, genus Viola, belonging to the family Violaceae, native to Europe and Asia. The plants contain large quantities of rutin, a natural form of asperin, disrupting the pathway, slow the growth of abnormal cells and facilitate the normal process of apoptosis of esophageal cancer cells.

4. Pau D’Arco
Pau D’Arco is also known as Pink Lapacho, genus Tabebuia, belonging to family, native to the America. It contains high levels of alpha-lapachone, beta-lapachone and xyloidone demostrated anti cancer effects. An article published by Dr. Daniel B. Mowrey on Pau d'Arco stated that "Lapacho has produced clinical anti-cancer effects without side effects."

5. Etc.

C. In traditional Chinese medicine
1. Da Huang
Da Huanug is also known as Chinese rhubarb. the bitter and cold herb has been used in TCM to treat lack of bowel movement, blood clots, tumor, red and painful eyes, abdominal-distention, hemorrhoidal bleeding as it clears heat, drains dampness and invigorates blood by enhancing the functions of heart, large intestine, liver and stomach channels. In vitro, researchers found that Da Huang demonstrated cytotoxic and cytostatic effects in cancer cells.

2. Bai Hua She She Cao
Bai Hua She She Cao is also known as spreading hedyotis, The bitter, sweet and cold herb has been used in TCM as anti-bacteria, anti-inflammation, anti-tumor, anti-virus agent and to treat snakebite and enhances immune system as it clears heat, drains dampness, expels toxins and resolves abscesses by enhancing the functions of liver, stomach, large intestine channels.
The Sanjiv Kumar YADAV, Shao Chin LEE(Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore researcher results showed that the ethanol extract from Bai Hua She She Cao effectively evokes cancer cell apoptosis, possibly through burst-mediated caspase activation.

3. Qing Hao
Qing Hao is also known as Worm Wood. The bitter and cold herb has been used in TCM as anti malaria agent and to trealupus, schistosomiasis as it disperses cold and dampness, expels wind and calms pain by enhancing the functions of kidney, liver and gallbladder channels.
Researchers found that qing hao elevates the calcium ions of leukemia white cells, triggering apoptosis, a self-destruct mechanism in cancer cells. A University of Washington study showed that qing hao selectively kills several cancer cell lines in the test tube.

4. Huang Qin
Huang Qin is also known as Chinese skullcap root. The bitter and cold herb has been used in TCM to treat jaundice, hypertension, anxiety, headache due to cold or flu,red eyes and sore throat as it clears heat and liver yang rising , drains dampness, stops bleeding by enhancing the functions of gallbladder, large intestine, lung and stomach channels. In vitro and limited animal data researchers found that bioflavonoid in Huang Qin causes apoptosis in hepatoma cell lines.

5. Etc.
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Author's Bio: 

kyle J. Norton - I have been studying natural remedies for disease prevention for over 20 years and working as a financial consultant since 1990. Health Researcher and Article Writer. Master in Mathematics and BA in World Literature and Literary criticism