Esophageal cancer is an abnormal growth or tumor that originates from the lining of the esophagus.
Patients with esophageal cancer often complain of difficulty swallowing because the cancerous growth partially blocks the esophageal opening.
Esophageal cancer is typically diagnosed by barium x-ray studies, or by passing a flexible tube through the mouth into the esophagus to directly look at the lining of the esophagus (a procedure called an endoscopy) and obtain biopsies.
Risk factors for esophageal cancer include tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and stent placement to relieve obstruction.