Esophageal cancer: a review and update

Am Fam Physician. 2006 Jun 15;73(12):2187-94.

Abstract

Although significant advancements have been made in the treatment of esophageal cancer, this aggressive malignancy commonly presents as locally advanced disease with a poor prognosis. Despite improvements in the detection of premalignant pathology, newer preventative strategies, and the development of more effective combination therapies, the overall incidence of esophageal carcinomas has risen. A clear association has been established between the development of esophageal cancer and Helicobacter pylori infection, gastroesophageal reflux disease, smoking, and heavy alcohol use. However, the growing number of newly diagnosed esophageal adenocarcinomas, despite widespread treatments with proton pump inhibitors and the eradication of H. pylori, leaves the medical community searching for more answers. There is a potential link between esophageal adenocarcinoma and obesity. Common presenting symptoms of esophageal cancer are dysphagia, odynophagia, and progressive weight loss. The initial assessment for patients with these symptoms is made with double-contrast barium esophagraphy. Treatment modalities include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of modalities. Prevention strategies include smoking and alcohol cessation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Esophageal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Risk Factors