Understanding Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal Cancer pic
Esophageal Cancer
Image: webmd.com

Dr. Konstantino Avradopoulos serves in the Wound Care Center at Heywood Hospital in Gardner, Massachusetts. Also a surgical oncologist, Dr. Konstantino Avradopoulos is interested in esophageal cancer resection.

The esophagus, situated behind the windpipe, is a muscular, hollow tube that links the throat and the stomach. Access to the esophagus is guarded by the upper esophageal sphincter, a ring of muscle that relaxes just before food and liquid reaches it, allowing nutrients to reach the stomach.

At the bottom of the esophagus is the gastroesophageal (GE) junction, which also has a ring of muscle, the lower esophageal sphincter, to regulate food movement into the stomach. When food is not being processed, the sphincter closes so that digestive juices cannot escape. Esophageal cancer typically emerges at the mucosa, or inner layer, of the esophagus and proceeds outward via the submucosa and muscle layer.