Oesophageal Cancer: A Guide for Patients

Guides for Patients are designed to assist patients, their relatives and caregivers to better understand the nature of different types of cancer and evaluate the best available treatment choices.

What is oesophageal cancer?

Oesophageal cancer is a tumour that forms in tissue lining the oesophagus, the muscular tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach. The two main types of oesophageal cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Both types occur at about the same frequency. Squamous cell carcinoma begins in flat cells lining the oesophagus, and adenocarcinoma begins in cells that produce and release mucus and other fluids.

Beyond a definition of oesophageal cancer, in this guide for patients you will find answers to questions such as:

  • Is oesophageal cancer frequent?
  • What causes oesophageal cancer?
  • How is oesophageal cancer diagnosed?
  • What is important to know to get the optimal treatment?
  • What are the treatment options?
  • What are the possible side effects of treatment?
  • What happens after the treatment?

This guide for patients has been prepared in collaboration with  Anti-Cancer Fund as a service to patients, to help patients and their relatives better understand the nature of Oesophageal Cancer and appreciate the best treatment choices available according to the subtype of Oesophageal Cancer. ESMO recommends that patients ask their doctors about what tests or types of treatments are needed for their type and stage of disease.

Patient Guides for Oesophageal Cancer were published in 2012.