Esophageal Cancer

Cancer that starts in the food pipe is known as Esophageal Cancer. It is more common in men than in women and the elderly age group is affected more often.

The food pipe or esophagus is a tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Cancer can develop anywhere in the esophagus.

cancer of esophagus

Causes of esophageal cancer

The exact cause of esophageal cancer is not known. It is thought that chronic irritation of your esophagus can lead to DNA changes that may cause esophageal cancer. There are some risk factors for esophageal cancers which are mentioned below:

Family history

Having a family history of esophageal cancer is very high risk factor.

  • GERD

    The acid from stomach may go up to the esophagus in this condition.This may irritate the inner lining of esohagus. If untreated for years, it may cause esophageal cancer.

  • Alcoholism/ Smoking

    Alcohol taken for long time directly affects the inner lining of esophagus. Also in take of coffee or habit of smoking is also risky for getting esophageal cancer.

  • Radiation exposure

    Radiation exposure to the chest and upper abdomen may cause the esophageal cells to undergo cancerous change.

Symptoms of esophageal cancer

There may not be any symptoms in early stages. The most common symptoms that these atients experience are listed below:

  • Frequent choking while eating
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Painful swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Diagnosing esophageal cancer


    A flexible thin tube with a camera is inserted down the throat to check which part of esophagus is affected. Its a nonexpensive and quick procedure.

    Barium swallow

    This test can determine the cause of painful swallowing, difficulty with swallowing, abdominal pain, bloodstained vomit or unexplained weight loss. A metallic compound called barium sulphate is swalloed by the patient. This compound shows upon a chest xray. With the help of that the abnormality in esophagus can be visualized.


    A small piece of esophagus is cut and sent to laboratory to check for the type of cancer. This test is time consuming for its result but its more accurate.

    Treatments For Esophageal Cancer

    Esophageal cancer is usually diagnosed at a very late stage. Hence it is accompanied by many complications due to speread to other organs. There is no medical treatment for esophageal cancer. Chemotherapy and Radiation usually just help in reducing the severity. Surgery must be done as soon as diagnosis is made.

    Surgical Treatment

    Removal of the esophageal segment affected by cancer is the surgery of choice. At LIMA, this is done by the minimally invasive thoraco laparoscopic technique, through just 3-4 tiny holes.


    The best and easiest way to prevent Esophageal cancer is:

    • Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption
    • Eat fibre rich food and maintain a healthy weight
    • Avoidance of tobacco and alcohol

    LIMA Experience

    Worlds First Thoraco-Lap Esophagectomy in HIV patient done at LIMA

    Thoraco Lap Esophagectomy Specialists

    Dr. J. S. Rajkumar


    M.S., F.I.C.S., Dip. N.B. (SURG.), F.R.C.S. (ENG.), F.R.C.S. (EDIN.), F.R.C.S. (GLASGOW), F.R.C.S. (IRELAND), F.I.M.S., F.A.I.S., F.R.M.S. (LONDON), F.A.E. (GASTRO), F.A.C.G. (USA), F.I.C.A. (USA), F.I.A.G.E.S., Dip M.I.S. (FR.)

    Dr. Prabhakaran Raju

    Consultant Surgical Gastroenterolgy