Esophageal cancer is the most common disease of this organ, accounting for 80-90 % of all esophageal diseases. The middle third of the thoracic esophagus is most often affected. The occurrence of esophageal cancer is associated with eating habits, as well as with the use of alcohol and tobacco smoking. Among the indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East, the use of very hot brick tea, frozen fish and meat (raskolotka, stroganina), hard cakes, which are sometimes also stored frozen in winter, is widespread. Such a diet with irregular nutrition, as well as the abuse of pure or slightly diluted alcohol, lead to permanent injury to the esophagus and a predisposition to cancer. The specific weight of esophageal cancer among other oncological diseases is about 2 %. At the same time, for a number of years, there has been a tendency to reduce its share in the total cancer incidence among both men and women. The proportion of deaths from esophageal cancer among the total number of deaths from various forms of cancer is also decreasing. On the territory of Russia, it is distributed very unevenly. Among the economic regions, the most cases are in the Northern Economic Region (the incidence of men is 13.1 and women 2.4 per 100 thousand population). I would especially like to note the fact that the lowest incidence among men is in the North Caucasus region (3.9), among women – in the Central Chernozem region. The proportion of deaths from stomach cancer among all oncological diseases in 1996 was 2.74 %. Analysis of the structure of mortality from various forms of cancer shows a steady decline in the proportion of deaths from esophageal cancer in the total of deaths from all forms of cancer. The incidence and mortality from esophageal cancer in men and women differ significantly. I would call esophageal cancer a male disease, since men get sick and die 5-10 times more often than women. Risk factors for esophageal cancer are recognized as the following: systematic contact with carcinogenic substances, chronic radiation exposure, excessive mechanical, thermal, and chemical irritation of the esophageal mucosa, alcohol abuse, smoking, and malnutrition.
For cancer of the esophagus is divided into four stages.
Stage I – clearly delineated, up to 3 cm in diameter, the tumor, the patency of the esophagus is not disturbed, there are no metastases.
Stage II-a tumor of 3-5 cm in size, single metastases to regional lymph nodes.
Stage III-a tumor with a size of 5 cm or less, the lumen of the esophagus is significantly narrowed, multiple metastases to regional lymph nodes.
Stage IV-the tumor grows into neighboring organs, distant metastases.
The primary symptoms of esophageal cancer include pain behind the sternum, a feeling of fullness behind the sternum, regurgitation of food, increased salivation. Almost all of these symptoms indicate a fairly large spread of the pathological process in the esophagus. Secondary symptoms are late manifestations of esophageal cancer, they often indicate complications of the disease, a significant prevalence of the process.
Secondary symptoms are hoarseness, enlarged local lymph nodes, slowing of heartbeat, a cough, a change in the sound quality of voices, vomiting, shortness of breath.
Common symptoms of cancer are characterized by increasing weakness, anemia, and weight loss.
Instrumental research methods are crucial in the recognition of esophageal cancer. The possibilities of X-ray examination increase with the introduction of a contrast agent to improve the X-ray picture of the esophagus. Esophagoscopy should be performed at the slightest suspicion of esophageal pathology. This is a direct method of diagnosing a tumor. The level of the lesion, the shape of the tumor, the degree of narrowing of the esophagus, the presence of decay or bleeding from the tumor are determined. The information content of these methods is very high.