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Surgery that involves the removal of whole or part of the food pipe or esophagus which is cancer affected alongwith some adjoining healthy esophageal tissue and some part of the stomach, if need be, to get rid of oesophageal cancer. Extent of food pipe to be removed depends upon the grade of the tumor and its location. Surgery is often recommended in early stages of cancer and may be combined with other treatment modalities such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Q1 What is esophagus?
A1 Esophagus, also referred to as food pipe, is a muscular tube through which the food passes from your mouth down to your stomach.
Q2. What is Oesophageal cancer?
A2 Cancer that starts in the food pipe or esophagus is referred to as Esophageal cancer. Like other cancers, oesophageal cancer is also characterized by uncontrolled growth of the cells, of the esophagus, due to damaged genetic material in them. Tumor forms due to uncontrolled multiplication of these abnormal cells resulting in the formation of a lump in the wall of the oesophagus.
Q3 What are the types of esophageal cancer?
A3 There are mainly two types of esophageal cancer:
Q4 What is done during Esophagectomy surgery?
A4 Esophagectomy literally means removal of whole or part of the esophagus or the food pipe. Your surgeon will remove the cancer inflicted part of the esophagus along with adjoining healthy esophageal tissue above and below the cancer affected part. Some part of the stomach may also be removed. The extent of the tissues to be removed are greatly determined by the location and the stage of the tumor with an ultimate goal to get rid of the cancer. The remaining healthy part of the esophagus and the stomach are joined back. Your surgeon may also remove some nearby lymphnodes to find if cancer has already spread to them.
Q5 What are the types or variations of esophagectomy?
A5 Once whole or the part of the esophagus is removed it may be replaced by:
The type of esophagectomy is determined by location and depth of the tumor, overall health condition of the patient and your surgeon's preference.
Q6 What are the indications for Esophagectomy surgery?
A6 Besides esophageal cancer, other conditions that call for esophagectomy surgery are the following:
Q7 What are the signs and symptoms of Esophageal cancer?
A7 There may be no sign or symptom in the early stages of esophageal cancer. At a later stage, the patient may present with the following signs and symptoms:
Q8 What is Barrett's esophagus?
A8 Some people suffer from GERD(Gastroesophageal reflux disease), a condition which is characterized by frequent backflow of the acid formed in the stomach, into the esophagus. Eventually, GERD causes the squamous cells(thin and flat cells) of the lining of the lower esophagus to be replaced with mucus forming gland cells, aslo referred to as Goblet cells. This condition characterized by change in the lining of the esophagus is referred to as Barrett's esophagus.
Q9 What are the treatment options for Esophageal cancer?
A9 After your clinical examination and evaluation of your medical reports, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatment options for you:
Surgery is considered as first line of therapy especially in the early stages of esophageal cancer when the tumor size is small.
Chemotherapy is considered as mainstay of treatment if the tumor is in its advanced stage and it is also recommended before the surgery in order to shrink the tumor. Chemotherapy,as the name implies, uses drugs to prevent the spread of the cancer by either stopping its growth or slowing it down.
Radiation therapy may also be used alongside chemotherapy. A type of radiation therapy is EBRT(External beam radiation therapy). It damages and kills the cancer cells.
Q10 Can esophageal cancer be prevented?
A10 You can take certain prudent steps to decrease your vulnerability towards esophageal cancer.
Q11 What is the usual hospital stay required after esophagectomy surgery?
A11 The usual hospital stay after esophagectomy surgery is 7 to 10 days. However, it may vary as per the response of the patient to the surgery.
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