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Types of Esophageal Cancer

lenlee65
Posts: 47
Joined: Aug 2012

I knew this but did not think about it until earlier today. It might help some of the new folks here to know that there are 2 main types of Esophageal cancer and both will be talked about here I am sure.

Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus is the type I had. This cancer is usually found in the lower part or distal esophagus near the stomach. The predominant factor in this cancer seems to be GERD and Barretts Esophagus. In the United States, adenocarcinoma is the most common type of esophageal cancer. It's been increasing since the 1970s.

Squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus is the other main type. This cancer is usually found in the upper part of the esophagus. It is becoming less common among Americans. Around the world, however, squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type.

Diagnosis, treatment and management of both diseases are similar but not always the same.

basil
Posts: 5
Joined: Sep 2012

I am being treated with radiation for squamous cell cancer of the Parotid gland. I had 2 nodes removed by surgery and have the radiation going on now. Since last Sunday the 2nd, my esophagus is closing up and it is very hard to swallow any food. Could the treatment cause the esophagus to swell, be very sore and hard to swallow? Any danger of starting cancer there by the treatments.

ptom
Posts: 36
Joined: Jun 2012

Basil,

I was also diagnosed with squamous cell esophageal cancer and was treated with radiation and chemo. Because of the location of the tumor I am considered inoperable and went through a second course of chemo.

The radiation is what is causing your throat to close up and cause pain when swallowing. Hopefully you were given either a J-tube or G-tube for feeding as most people will not be able to swallow anything by the time radiation ends. I never went anywhere without a box of tissues and it took me at least three weeks after radiation ended to be able to swallow my own spit. Who knew people produced that much spit?! That first pain free sip of water was heaven.

I don't have an answer regarding radiation starting cancer. Perhaps other members of the board will have an answer.

Don't worry, it takes a little time but your ability to swallow will return before you know it.

ptom

lenlee65
Posts: 47
Joined: Aug 2012

I remember when I started radiation having to sign a document informing that the radiation could cause cancer or cancer related problems in the future. But in your case the radiation itself is causing your swallowing problems. The irratation and swelling should go away 2-3 weeks after your readiation therapy is over.

Ladylacy
Posts: 516
Joined: Apr 2012

My husband was diagnosed with esophageal cancer at the cervical of his espohagus. This was after being treated for laryngeal cancer. He was told that due to the location of the tumor that surgery would be very hard due to his previous radiation and surgery. He has since undergone 35 more radiation treatments and 7 chemo treatments in almost the same spot as for the laryngeal cancer (2010). And now we are in a holding pattern until the PET/CT scan on the 18th.

His throat once against is barely open and after a swallow test the doctors said they would do nothing until the PET/CT scan shows he is clear of cancer. He finished his treatment on 7/2 and the mucus is once again very thick and lots of it. This tumor was very small and no spread so we are hoping that the radiation and chemo got it.

Has anyone heard of cancer at the cervical of the esophagus? I know it is rare and I have asked this question before but got no relies so am assuming no one has heard of it before.

Also has anyone ever had to have two doctors to try and open up the throat. One to go down the throat and the other to go up the esophagus until they meet.

Thanks for any information on these questions.

lenlee65
Posts: 47
Joined: Aug 2012

I just did some quick looking on the internet because cervical of the esophagus was a new term for me. The cervical of the esophagus is at the very top so this new diagnosis may be related to larngeal cancer.

Sorry your husband and you are having to go thru this. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

Len

jaycc
Posts: 131
Joined: Jul 2012

I also have not heard of this type of cancer. I'll ask around in PA. On Monday, I'll search the head and neck discussion boards to see if any conversations are occurring.

ptom
Posts: 36
Joined: Jun 2012

Ladylacy,

Cancer of the cervical esophagus is what I was diagnosed with. It was close to the trachea just behind the top of the breast bone. Good news, bad news - my tumor was "well differentiated" squamous cell which is less aggressive, although squamous cell cancer is more aggressive than adenocarcinoma.

I had no idea it was considered rare. Guess that's just my "luck of the draw" as I'm also an 18 year survivor of Dukes stage III colon cancer (diagnosed at 36 - dad passed away at 45 from the same).

Luckily I had a complete response in October of last year (diagnosed July 7th 2011) to chemo and radiation with a second round of chemo from November through February. So far I'm still NED.

ptom

Ladylacy
Posts: 516
Joined: Apr 2012

My husband's cancer in squamous cell. He is being treated at Emory Winship Cancer Center in Atlanta, GA. Our radiation oncologist said that they had another person with the same cancer same location and that the radiation/chemo had taken care of the cancer. So we are hoping but won't know anything until the end of this month. The radiation/chemo for the laryngeal cancer and then the laryngectomy was considered successful and everything was fine for over a year. The surgeon told us we were lucky that this cancer was found when it was because my husband wouldn't have had a CT scan until the end of June or early July and this was found in April and that the tumor was small compared to his first tumor and the PET/CT scan showed no spread. We know that it is inoperable due to location and previous surgery. And yes my husband was a pipe smoker for over 40 years and a beer drinker too.

Sharon

ptom
Posts: 36
Joined: Jun 2012

That's what my oncologist said as well. He also said he expected me to be around to see him retire, which, according to him, will be a very long time. Unfortunately I'm a type A personality (aka anal retentive information junkie) so between the statistics and my overactive brain I'm still waiting to get to the "I believe" stage. I'm not a big fan of being wrong and would really love to be able to tell my doctor he was right!

I used cigarettes as an emotional crutch for 35 years. Was your husband able to quit smoking? Please tell me how he did it. I've been able to quit many times over the last year but when I find myself over-thinking, or when the husband and I get into a spat, I break down and then have to start all over. Quitting cigarettes is hard enough. Add the emotional aspects of cancer and treatments into the mix and it seems hopeless. (I wonder how many marriages have broken up over a cancer diagnosis.)

My next scan is due sometime in October. I've become really fond of NED and hope "he" sticks around.

Sorry we have to be here but it's nice to know I'm not alone in this rare diagnosis.

Fingers crossed for your husband's scan at the end of the month.

ptom

Ladylacy
Posts: 516
Joined: Apr 2012

When my husband was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer in July of 2010, he just put down his pipe and didn't pick it up again. No problems. But I remember about 12 years ago they thought he had lung cancer that had spread. He stopped smoking for about 2 weeks and then the week in the hospital for what turned out to be a serious lung infection. As soon as he got home, he was smoking the pipe again. When he had his laryngectomy he wouldn't have been able to smoke anyway since he breaths now thru a hole in his neck, although I have seen people smoke with the hole in the neck. He had no problems when he stopped smoking his pipe. About 10 years ago he was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer and the doctor told him to stop drinking his beer and once again he was able to without any problems.

There is a big difference between pipe smoking and cigarette smoking. You don't really inhale pipe smoke. I used to tell people, especially friends and our sons, that if I ever got lung cancer because of his smoking, I would take him with me and I wouldn't tell them how or when. Not really funny now but it was at the time. Cancer is a roller coaster ride and I'm sure that many marriages break up due to it. I have a friend whose husband is quite ill (not cancer) and we often say would our husbands take as good of care of us as we do them. And yes we do have our spats, mainly because he won't do what he is told to do by the doctors.

Sharon

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