What Is Oesophageal Cancer?
One of the common cancers among individuals who smoke and are involved in tobacco oriented activities is oesophageal cancer. It is also known as esophageal carcinoma.
Every year around 6.0 to 6.5 per 100,000 male individuals get affected by esophageal cancer and 4.2 per 100,000 women get affected.
Oesophageal cancer in biological terms is: it is cancer in the esophagus or food pipe located at the upper to middle end of the digestive tract. When abnormal or damaged cells start to divide uncontrollably they form a mass of cells called ‘tumor’. When a cancerous tumor grows in the esophagus or the food pipe tissues, it leads to the disease of ‘oesophageal cancer’.
The surviving chances become low if detected in the later stages. So, if confronted with any signs of tumorous activity the individual or the family member should immediately take the initiative to get it diagnosed.
What Are The Causes And Symptoms
There is no clear reason to which oesophageal cancer occurs. Persistent and consistent irritation in the throat can lead to certain mutations which can further result in esophageal cancer. Some of the factors that increase the chances of getting it include:
- Smoking: binge smoking is the most common risk factor to cause esophageal cancer.
- Having gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- Barett’s esophagus: precancerous changes in the cells of the esophagus.
- Obesity and uncontrolled weight.
- Age: esophageal cancer can be detected at any age but most of the cases are found in elderly people.
- A personal history of esophageal cancer or polyp: having a previous history of esophageal cancer or the presence of non-cancerous polyp can put the individual at greater risk.
- Heavy consumption of alcohol.
- If the patient has bile reflux.
- Achalasia: difficulty in swallowing due to non-relaxation of the esophageal sphincter.
- Having a steady habit of drinking very hot liquids
- Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
- Radiation therapy: in the chest or abdomen region can increase the chances of esophageal cancer.
Some of the common and most widely seen symptoms are:
- Dysphagia: difficulty in swallowing.
- Chest pain, pressure and burning sensation.
- Indigestion problems.
- Burns when heated or cold foods are engulfed.
- Coughing and hoarseness of the throat.
- Pain in the neck and abdomen.
- Dark stool with blood.
- Fatigue and tiredness.
- Vomit containing blood
- Raspy voice and pain while speaking
- Anaemia or iron deficiency
- Loss of appetite
- Unintentional weight loss.
Diagnosis Of Oesophageal Cancer
Tests and studies that are conducted to confirm esophageal cancer are:
- Barium swallow study: the person is asked to swallow a liquid that contains barium. The person is then exposed under x-rays where the coating of barium is examined to find any cancerous activity.
- Endoscopy: a scope- a thin slender tube attached to a video camera is used to examine the inside of the esophagus on the monitor.
- Biopsy: a tissue or sample of the esophagus is collected using a scope, which is then sent to the laboratory to check any presence of cancerous cells.
- Advanced tests that the doctor can suggest are: Bronchoscopy, Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), Computerized tomography (CT) and Positron emission tomography (PET)
- If the person is tested positive for esophageal cancer then the doctor may suggest undergoing some imaging tests such as neck, mouth and chest CT scans.
What To Do Before The Surgery
Before deciding or undergoing the surgery the patient must do the following things:
- Knowing enough about their cancer so they can make a rightful decision regarding surgery or any treatment.
- Talking with family and friends.
- Be aware of any pre-surgery restrictions like diet or medicinal restrictions.
- The patient should have a clear idea of the symptoms they are facing.
- Writing down any personal information like stress levels that they want their surgeon or doctor to know.
- Getting all the medications.
- The patient should be accompanied by any family member or friend.
- Writing down any queries about the process and disease so that they can ask their doctor during the appointment.
What Can Be Done At Home: Precautions And Care
It is normal to feel uncomfortable and tired during the initial days. The swelling, bruising, redness and pain will go away after 6-8 weeks. After getting discharged from the hospital the patients should be taken care of at their homes. One can try the following home care to feel a little comfortable.
- The person can explore the sleeping positions and try placing a pillow under the back.
- Usually, the hospital provides a suitable pillow and instructions to sleep.
- Changing the bandages if any
- Keeping the wounded area which can be neck, chest or abdomen clean.
- As the wound heals, massaging the incision area gently with lotion, vitamin E or lanolin can provide comfort. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
- Avoiding the application of perfumed creams.
- Doing post-surgery exercises like arm lifts, leg raising, arm swings and standing wall climbing.
- Regular and timely intake of medications prescribed by the physician.
- Hiring a care nurse or specialist.
- Intaking proper nutrients can help in the recovery process.
- Taking warm baths: avoiding running water in the incision area.
- Taking a bath with someone’s help.
- Wearing comfortable and loose clothes.
- Lifting heavy items should be avoided.
- Getting enough sleep and rest can help the patient to feel better.
- Mental health should be prioritized and one should keep themselves busy doing the things they like.
The period of recovery varies from person to person and their lifestyle. The average time of recovery can range from 6-10 weeks. The recovery is both physically and mentally. For the patient to have a healthy mental state during the healing or recovery period, it is important for the family members and loved ones to show them their extra token of love and support.
Before anyone leaves the hospital, they will be provided with a set of tests and appointments that they need to attend. The patients must strictly do the told tests and attend the recommended appointments. During the healing phase, one should take utmost care of their dressing and draining procedures. Plenty of rest should be taken and indulging in heavy tasks should be avoided. The person can return to their daily activities once they gain the energy and feel like they are capable of doing it without causing any damage to their wound.
The above-mentioned remedies and medicines; are over the counter medicines (most of them) and are effective in most cases. It is advisable to contact the doctor before taking any medications.
Why Should Someone Choose Resolve360?
- Resolve360 is a promising online platform, where one can receive treatment at the comfort of their own home.
- We are available on both the google play store and the app store.
- There’s Tiana, our chat buddy to guide you 24/7 through all your doubts, progress and feedback.
- Our team specializes in providing the following services:
- Speech therapy
- Clinical psychological counselling
- Antenatal and postnatal care
- Pregnancy wellness
- Covid rehabilitation facilities
- The patients don’t need to worry about traveling long distances to receive their post-surgery treatment or rehab.
- The patients can save up the time and can utilize that time to take care of themselves.
- For a smooth, at-home experience the patients are offered the following facilities:
- Live sessions,
- video conferencing and
- video prescriptions
- Building trust is really important. So, we always try our best to provide the maximum support to the patients to make them feel comfortable.
- We always schedule the timings of the meetings based on the patient’s preference. Rescheduling can also be done if there are any problems.
- When a patient comes to our doctor it becomes the responsibility of our doctor to give them a healthy life.
- We guarantee that doctors will never leave their patients.
- The patients can openly talk about their problems and we assure that the information will be between the patients and the doctors only.
- Our doctors plan every step necessary for their patients, starting from planning out exercises to drafting their diet charts.
- The doctors on the platform are extremely reliable and are certified professionals with experience.
- It is a platform that provides solutions to every problem, starting with home remedies to prescribed medications.
- The patient’s trust is our confidence!