Esophagectomy: Types, Signs, Symptoms, Risk Factors & Treatment
Thoracic surgery generally involves surgery of diseases related to the chest, excluding the heart and vessels. Although experts estimate that around 80% of thoracic surgeries involve those related to some type of cancer including tumours such as lung cancer, esophageal cancer, tumours of the chest wall and space around the heart, there are other types of cases wherein the surgery involves treating people with diseases that are not cancer-related. Some of such common cases include procedures like esophagectomy and reconstruction for end-stage benign esophageal diseases, removal of cysts of the chest, lung transplantation, biopsies of lung and chest tissue, thymectomy for myasthenia gravis sympathectomy for hyperhidrosis and myotomy for achalasia to name a few. Our specialists at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad are highly trained in various surgical procedures concerning thoracic surgery; in this blog, we bring before you a glimpse of one of the most common thoracic surgeries, Esophagectomy.
What is Esophagectomy?
Esophagectomy refers to the surgical procedure to remove a part or the entire esophagus (swallowing tube between the mouth and stomach) and reconstructing it using part of another organ, usually the stomach. This procedure is used for treating advanced esophageal cancer. One of the most common surgeries with precancerous cells is that of Barrett’s esophagus. This is also recommended for a number of non-cancerous cases usually related to end-stage achalasia or strictures damaging the lining of the organ. Though esophageal cancers can be removed by surgery through early diagnosis, experts report that they are rarely found early enough to cure with surgery. After the removal by surgery, the remaining part of the esophagus is reconnected to the stomach.
What causes the need for Esophagectomy?
Since esophagectomy is the surgical treatment to either remove or relieve symptoms of esophageal cancer, one must be aware of the causes and risk factors surrounding esophageal cancer. Esophageal cancer is mainly caused by changes or mutations in the DNA of esophageal cells. These mutations lead to uncontrolled growth in size and number of the cells which give rise to accumulation of abnormal cells that forms tumour in the esophagus. The tumour then grows to invade parts of the body around it and spread across the body beyond control.
Types of esophageal cancer
Esophageal cancer is classified, depending upon the types of cells involved and our specialists will recommend the appropriate treatment after diagnosing the specific cause.
Adenocarcinoma: This involves cells in mucus-secreting glands in the lower portion of the esophagus.
Squamous cell carcinoma: Reported to be the most prevalent, this involves thin cells in the lining of the esophagus in the upper and middle parts of the organ.
Other rare types include small cell carcinoma, sarcoma, lymphoma, melanoma, and choriocarcinoma.
Signs & symptoms of esophageal cancer
Like most cancers, early esophageal cancer show no signs or symptoms. Some of the most common signs to watch out for as follows:
– Uncontrolled loss of weight
– Severe heartburn or ingestion
– Coughing or hoarseness
– Pain, pressure and burning sensation in the chest
– Dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing)
– Change in voice
– Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
– Acid or bile reflux
Risk factors of esophageal cancer
Here are some of the most common factors that make an individual more susceptible to esophageal cancer
Alcohol: Excessive drinking may trigger squamous cell carcinoma, especially when combined with tobacco use.
Age: People between the ages of 45 and 70 are at the highest risk.
Barrett’s esophagus: People with Barrett’s esophagus are more vulnerable to develop adenocarcinoma.
Gender: Men are 3 to 4 times more prone to develop esophageal cancer than women.
Tobacco: Tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff raises the risk of squamous cell carcinoma.
Obesity: Being overweight and having too much body fat increases the risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Contents and acid from the stomach going back up into the esophagus can increase the risk of GERD.
Treatment of esophageal cancer
For providing the best treatment, our specialists will thoroughly examine the patient’s health, identify the stage of cancer and may recommend the following:
Chemotherapy: Strong drug to attack cancer cells, usually combined with radiation therapy. Esophagectomy: In this, a part or the entire esophagus may be removed.
Radiation therapy: It kills cancer cells with radiation.
Cryotherapy: Freezing cancer cells to diminish a tumour.
Photodynamic therapy: Using special laser lights to destroy cancer cells.
Electrocoagulation: Using electric current to destroy cancer cells.
Immunotherapy: It helps the immune system in attacking cancer cells.
Laparoscopy and robot-assisted procedures: It involves a number of smaller incisions specially made to relieve pain and speed up recovery.
Video-Assisted Thorascopic Surgery or (VATS): This involves minimally invasive thoracic surgery of the chest by using a thoracoscope (small videoscope) using small incisions and special instruments to minimize trauma.
Whom to consult?
Esophagectomy, much like any thoracic surgery, is rather complicated and calls for highly trained surgeons with the most experience for operating the esophagus. The frequency with which a specialist executes the procedure, the percentage of their patients who have died in the process as well as the survival statistics are factors that mostly determine the success of the surgery. Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Nehru Nagar, Ghaziabad is confident to say that with its holistic strategies and excellent oncologists at Yashoda Superspeciality Hospital & Cancer Institute, Sanjay Nagar,
Ghaziabad, you will be provided with the best possible treatment with the most advanced technology and latest medical facilities designed for a patient-focused environment. We not only focus on giving the best treatment during the transition from cancer treatment to recovery but also offer the best possible care after the actual treatment is over.
For any query on Esophagectomy or any other thoracic surgery and its treatment, please reach out to us on our official website.