What is esophageal cancer?

The esophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. The cells that make up the lining of the esophagus occasionally become abnormal, causing them to grow quickly and out of control. This out-of-control growth can sometimes lead to esophageal cancer.

Daniel Labow, MD
Surgical Oncology

Esophageal cancer is a serious form of cancer that starts in the inner layer of your esophagus. The most common symptom of esophageal cancer, usually occurring late in the disease, is difficulty swallowing with the sensation of food getting stuck in your throat or chest. In the past, the outlook for people with esophageal cancer was poor. However, survival rates have improved, in part because of close monitoring of Barrett's esophagus—a serious, premalignant complication of acid reflux disease—which can help detect cancer early, when it's more likely to respond to treatment.  In addition, diet and lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your chances of developing esophageal cancer.

Esophageal cancer is cancer that develops in the esophagus, the muscular tube connecting the throat and the stomach. Each year, over 15,500 Americans are diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.