Esophageal cancer accounts for about 16 % of other cancer locations. Men get sick four times more often than women. The occurrence of esophageal cancer is facilitated by Smoking or chewing tobacco with various impurities. Alcohol plays an equally important role in its development, especially alcohol, vodka and cognac. When they are used regularly, there are burns of the esophageal mucosa, inflammation of it, then ulcers, which, with continued use of alcohol and irritating snacks, are transformed into esophageal cancer. In addition, the systematic abuse of alcohol causes a weakening of the body’s defenses, which contributes to the development of cancer. Precancerous diseases of the esophagus are currently well diagnosed, radically and reliably cured, if they are subjected to medical measures in time. The esophagus is lined from the inside with the same mucous epithelium as the oral cavity, so there are the same processes that occur in the oral cavity. However, if the recognition of various precancerous diseases of the mucous membrane of the mouth is relatively easy, as the mouth can be subjected to direct simple inspection with the naked eye, in order to examine the esophagus, requires special examination special machine called esophagoscope (research completely safe and painless), and if the doctor prescribes such an examination, that he should not refuse. It should be remembered that it is necessary to consult a doctor not only when there are difficulties in swallowing, “stuck” food, belching and vomiting from the esophagus, but also when there are at least the most insignificant signs of violation of the free passage of food through the esophagus. Very often, various inflammatory processes, burns or ulcers are formed not only in the esophagus,but also in the oral cavity. The patient often focuses all his attention on the disease of the oral mucosa, and not on a similar disease of the esophageal mucosa, which worries him less.
Such diseases of the esophagus as ulcers, papillomas, polyps, benign tumors, protrusions (diverticula), can be diagnosed without the use of an esophagoscope, subjecting patients to x-ray examination with the use of contrast barium suspension. Leukoplakia is the result of chronic inflammation of the esophageal mucosa. When leukoplakia forms a significant number of dense, sharply limited, towering nodules of gray-whitish color from 2-3 mm to 1 cm across; at the base of the nodules, the epithelium covering the esophagus is usually thickened, and there is a peeling in it. Leukoplakia occurs as a result of Smoking and swallowing saliva impregnated with tobacco, the habit of drinking strong alcoholic beverages and little diluted alcohol, very hot tea, coffee, milk, and using spices (for example, strong mustard). With follicular catarrh of the esophageal mucosa, there is an inflammation of the mucus-secreting glands, which are relatively few in the esophagus. The possibility of transition of leukoplakia and follicular catarrh to esophageal cancer is real. Signs of such diseases may be minor violations of free swallowing, often with belching. In severe cases, so-called esophageal vomiting occurs. Treatment is reduced to a categorical prohibition to use any spices and alcoholic beverages; a non-irritating diet is established, consisting of liquid enveloping or mushy food.
Atrophic esophagitis, i.e. chronic inflammation of the esophageal mucosa, which has led to atrophic changes in it, can develop after incorrectly and insufficiently treated acute esophageal diseases. Especially often it occurs with prolonged abuse of vodka, narrowing of the esophagus after burns (as a result of prolonged food retention in the esophagus), severe diseases of the cardiovascular system, long-lasting liver and kidney diseases, diabetes and General exhaustion from any other causes. The esophagus loses its normal elasticity and becomes sedentary. Despite the difficulty and duration of treatment of esophagitis, it should be carried out patiently, in order to prevent the progression of the process, which may end in the formation of polyps or cancer on the esophageal mucosa. Even after the main suffering that caused atrophic esophagitis is cured, it is usually not possible to achieve complete recovery. Patients complain of a feeling of “standing piece in the throat” after eating, unpleasant sensations when passing food through the esophagus and the need to wash down food with several SIPS of water. The liquid in this case passes through the esophagus freely and does not cause any painful phenomena. Hyperplastic esophagitis has a slightly different clinical picture than atrophic. In this case, the epithelium of the esophagus becomes soft, loose, excessively moist, with separate outgrowths. This disease is also associated with various errors in diet and Smoking. The appointment of an appropriate diet and diet usually leads to a rapid recovery, since this disease is based on an infectious inflammatory process, recognized and aggravated by irritating food and tobacco smoke. If hyperplastic esophagitis is not treated and measures are not taken to prevent its further development, then at first numerous bumps the size of a pea appear on the mucous membrane, which later give warty formations or ulcers that can turn into cancer. Warts and papillomas are benign tumors. They can occur without connection with hyperplastic esophagitis on the esophageal mucosa as a result of chronic inflammation or constant irritation of the mucosa by various harmful external factors. If warts and papillomas are small and there is no inflammation around them, then usually patients do not suspect their existence, since they do not bother them. They are discovered accidentally when examining the esophagus for some other reason (for example, a foreign body gets stuck in the esophagus). The size of these warts-papillomas varies: from a few millimeters in diameter to 0.5 cm. They have a whitish color. Warts and papillomas are not subject to special treatment if they do not disturb the patient. But if it is difficult to pass food, there are pain, surgery is necessary to prevent the occurrence of a malignant tumor.
Atypical esophageal cysts have the form of small tumors, in the middle of which is a mucus-like mass. They are most often found in places of narrowing of the esophagus and are a malformation, can also be formed as a result of inflammation of the esophageal mucosa in which there is a blockage of the excretory ducts of various glands of the mucous membrane.
Esophageal fibroids are found cleaner than other benign tumors, and they can be ill not only adults, but also children. These are dense, solid tumors consisting of connective tissue. If they are small, they usually do not bother patients and are not the subject of surgical treatment, since they almost never degenerate into cancer. But if the fibroma grows, if it makes it difficult to pass soft food and even water, then surgical treatment is necessary.
Polyps are small tumors that sit on a leg or on a wide base. They affect people at different ages, from childhood to old age. May not give any unpleasant sensations. However, when the tumor reaches a significant size, it makes it difficult to pass food, sometimes even liquid, causes narrowing of the esophageal lumen and leads to a sharp emaciation of the patient. Esophageal polyps are often accompanied by bleeding. The most important diagnostic technique is x-ray with esophagoscopy, which allows you to recognize the tumor in time and subject it to radical excision. These formations are not dangerous for patients, but as soon as the tumor is launched, there is now a danger of its transition to cancer. In addition, before the tumor turns into cancer, it can sometimes give a number of severe disorders: emaciation, suffocation, circulatory disorders, bleeding. Therefore, polyps are subject to mandatory removal. Esophageal ulcers are located at different levels, but are most often found in the lower third of the esophagus, in close proximity to the place where the esophagus passes and the stomach. They are usually single. The depth of penetration of the ulcer into the esophageal mucosa depends on the duration of its existence. The ulcer can be superficial, occupying only the mucous membrane, but sometimes reaches the muscle layer, causing inflammatory processes in the esophagus tissues and in neighboring organs; it can lead to fusion of the esophagus with neighboring organs: the heart shirt, pleura, aorta, the edge of the lung, and so on. If the ulcer is treated in a timely manner, it is usually scarred. The causes of esophageal ulcers are the same as other inflammatory precancerous diseases of the esophagus, which we discussed above. It should be noted that men are 4 times more likely to suffer from esophageal ulcers than women. This is undoubtedly due to the fact that men are more likely to drink alcohol and smoke than women. Esophageal ulcers cause a number of unpleasant phenomena in patients. Patients feel pain that radiates to the upper abdomen or sternum, or to the back between the shoulder blades. Pain occurs at various times of the day, seemingly for no apparent reason.