Esophageal Cancer: Overview, Causes, Symptoms, Types, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Stages, Prognosis, Metastasis, Survival Rate, Treatment and Prevention

Esophageal Cancer Causes

Esophageal Cancer Causes
Esophageal Cancer Causes

Cancer starts when strong cells alter in their function and start growing uncontrollably, resulting in the formation of a mass called a tumor. A tumor can be malignant or localized. A cancerous tumor is said to be malignant, this term means that it can grow and expand to other regions of the body. A benign tumor is said to be a tumor that can grow without spreading. Cancer of the esophagus starts in the cells which make up the lining of the esophagus. (3)

Particularly, esophageal cancer starts in the inner surface of the wall of the esophagus and grows in the outward direction. If it advances through the wall of the esophagus, it can proceed to lymph nodes, which are said to be the tiny, bean-shaped organs that function in fighting the infection, as well as the blood vessels present in the chest and other surrounding organs. Cancer of the esophagus can also progress to the lungs, liver, stomach, and other regions of the body.

The definite cause of the cancer of the esophagus is unknown, but here are some of the following estimates:

Genetic mutations

Cancer is caused by alterations in the Deoxyribonucleic acid present inside the cells of all living organisms. DNA is said to be a type of chemical which is present in each of the cells of the living body and has the function of making up the genes that work in controlling the functioning of our cells. Normally, people look like their parents as they are responsible for making up the DNA of their offspring. But the DNA affects more than just the appearance of the people. Many genes are used in controlling the growth phase of the cells, division into new cells, and their death. Some of the particular genes which are used to assist in the growth of the cells, their division, and staying alive are known as oncogenes. Genes that are used to keep the division of the cell under power or which are used to cause the cells to be inhibited at an accurate amount of time are referred to as the tumor suppressor genes.

The other causes of esophageal cancer include the mutations in the DNA that are used to stimulate the oncogenes or block the function of tumor suppressor genes. After this occurrence, the cells start growing in an uncontrolled manner. The alterations in several other genes are generally in demand to cause cancer of the esophagus.

The DNA of individuals with esophageal cancer cells repeatedly shows alterations in several different genes. Still, it’s unclear if there are particular gene changes that can be present in all (or most) cancers of the esophagus.

  • Inherited mutations of the gene: Some of the mutations of the DNA can be inherited in families and are present in all of the cells of the body of the person. These are referred to as inherited mutations. A very small percentage of the cancers of the esophagus are said to be due to the mutations of the gene which are inherited. The researchers have come across some of these changes in the DNA and their effects on the growth of the cell and are still being studied so far. For instance:

Tylosis with the cancer of the esophagus (often known as Howell-Evans syndrome) is caused by changes in the previous generation in the RHBDF2 gene. Tylosis is a very rare, inherent, autosomal type of dominant disorder that is characterized by hyperkeratosis of the palmar surface of the hands and plantar surface of the foot, along with thickening and cracks forming on the skin. This disorder is related to an extraordinarily increased risk of the development of cancer of the esophagus. Individuals with alterations in this gene are at higher risk for the development of the squamous type of cell of the cancer of the esophagus.