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A Different Way of Looking at Esophageal Cancer

Join Dr. Jen Caudle, DO, on a journey inside the body to learn more about esophageal cancer.

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Transcript

00:00
[MUSIC PLAYING] Cancer, the one word no one ever wants to hear.
00:07
It instills fear. It crushes hope, and it makes the future an uncertainty. At least 17 million people worldwide
00:14
will be diagnosed with cancer this year. And esophageal cancer will be the eighth most common on that list.
00:20
Let's take a look at the esophagus, a 10-inch-long tube responsible for carrying swallowed foods and liquids from the throat down to the stomach.
00:29
Inside this esophagus is esophageal cancer, which usually starts in the inner lining of the hollow organ.
00:36
Cancer forms when abnormal cells in the body grow and divide uncontrollably. Some divide slowly, while others divide rapidly,
00:43
but most do it silently before symptoms appear. The cancerous pulp-like, massive tissue, or tumor,
00:50
surrounded by ulcerated lesions, is slowly rising off the surface and protruding into the open space
00:56
of the esophagus. As the tumor continues to grow and enlarge, it can block the esophageal opening, making swallowing difficult, causing chest pain or pressure,
01:06
and worsening heartburn. At some point, the tumor can seep into deeper tissues and invade other parts of the body
01:13
through the bloodstream or lymph nodes, causing the cancer to metastasize, or spread, to nearby organs like the lungs or liver.
01:21
To stop this, we must fight quickly and aggressively, and fortunately, we can. Radiation and chemotherapy are common treatments
01:30
used to attack cancer and prevent it from spreading. With radiation, we can specifically target the tumor with X-ray-like beams to kill or slow down cancer cells.
01:39
With chemotherapy, we can destroy actively growing cells in the body, like those of cancer, by introducing drugs into the bloodstream.
01:47
But sometimes these aren't enough. Newer treatment options like immunotherapy can be used alone, or with radiation and chemotherapy,
01:55
to detect cancer cells, mark them for destruction, and work with the immune system, our body's defense against infections and microbes,
02:03
to seek out and kill cancer. Every second matters. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed
02:09
with esophageal cancer, talk with your doctor about available treatment options, and let's win this fight. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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