Type of disease: Rare conditions
Esophageal cancer is a cancer of the esophagus, the hollow tube that carries food and liquids from the throat to the stomach. As the cancer grows, symptoms may include painful or difficult swallowing, weight loss and coughing up blood. The exact cause is usually not known, but both environmental and genetic factors are throught to play a role in the development of this condition. In the United States, risk factors for developing esophageal cancer include smoking, heavy drinking, obesity, and damage from acid reflux. Treatments include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and laser therapy. Some patients may also need nutritional support, since the cancer or treatment may make it hard to swallow. Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD), supported by ORDR-NCATS and NHGRI.