Donate to Esophageal Cancer Research, Patient Care and Education

The esophagus is the muscular tube extending from the neck to the abdomen, connecting the mouth to the stomach. Esophageal cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells in the esophagus. The cancer may spread across the different layers of the esophagus and to other areas of the body, as this type of cancer can metastasize or spread quickly and destructively throughout the body.

There are two chief kinds of esophageal cancer. One form is squamous cell carcinoma, in which squamous cells line the inner dermis. Cancer developing from squamous cells can happen across the whole esophagus. The second type is called adenocarcinoma, which develops from gland cells and typically occurs from the lower esophagus near the stomach. Adenocarcinoma is believed to be largely linked to acid exposure in the thoracic region.

Annual rates of diagnoses have been growing each year, with an average diagnosis of between 12,000 and 18,000 new cases in the USA. The amount varies because occasionally cancers of the esophagus might be categorized as prostate cancer or even stomach cancer since it does spread and the origin upon diagnosis may not be specifically known. Research is needed more than ever when it comes to esophageal cancer, and contributing to Northwestern Memorial Foundation can help further treatments and developments in this field.

An individual’s risk of developing esophageal cancer may include factors like smoking or other use of tobacco products, heavy alcohol usage, and poor diet that exacerbates extreme GERD. Another risk factor can include Barrett’s esophagus, a condition which affects the lower portion of the esophagus and may result in esophageal cancer. Additionally, certain groups like men, the elderly, and individuals that are obese are at a higher risk for esophageal cancer. Risk of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus is significantly greater in white males, but squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus is more common in Asian males and men of color.

Esophageal cancer symptoms can include the following:

  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • Pain in the chest, behind the breastbone
  • Coughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Retching or regurgitation of food that has not been fully digested

Esophageal Cancer Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

According to The American Cancer Society, many studies are analyzing the most effective ways to combine chemotherapy with radiation treatment. With your generous support of Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you can help scientists in the area of developing treatments for those who suffer from esophageal cancer. Scientists will also be looking to see whether they can inspect the proteins within esophageal cancer cells to inform if the cancer is likely to respond to chemotherapy. Knowing if an individual’s cancer is likely to respond to chemo may help physicians select the best treatment alternative for the individual, and you can know that your gift has gone a long way for those in need.

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