Esophageal cancer is caused by the growth of a malignant tumor in the esophagus, a muscular tube that passes food to the stomach from the mouth. It has a low survival rate once the cancer has advanced to its later stages. Symptoms manifest strongly when the cancer has advanced, which suggests that suspecting or diagnosing it at an earlier stage is difficult.
Symptoms can often get confused for those of other less severe conditions, as a result allowing the cancer to grow. When esophageal cancer is misdiagnosed or left undiagnosed, it can migrate or spread to the lungs, liver or stomach, decreasing the chances of survival for the patient.
Some common conditions that esophageal cancer can be mistaken for include:
· Acid reflux
· Esophageal tuberculosis
· Esophageal fistula
Types of Esophageal Cancer
Esophageal cancer manifests itself in the form of a carcinoma originating from the epithelium, which is the inner surface lining of the esophagus. A cancer in the upper two-thirds section of the esophagus is termed a squamous cell carcinoma, while that in the lower third is called adenocarcinoma. The squamous cell carcinoma has its own variants such as melanoma, lymphoma, or leiomyosarcoma.
Signs and Symptoms
The patient suffering from esophageal cancer may experience the following symptoms:
· Difficulty in swallowing (Dysphagia)
· Pained swallowing (odynophagia)
· Burning sensation that seems similar to a heartburn
· Nausea and vomiting, (regurgitation of food)
· Substantial loss of weight
· Hoarse cough
Diagnosing Esophageal Cancer
The physician may prescribe various routes to diagnose and examine esophageal cancer. Some of the tests include:
· Barium meal or Barium Swallow
The patient is made to ingest barium sulfate prior to an x-ray. Barium sulfate appears opaque in an x-ray, providing a detailed and hollow imagery to examine irregularities indicating esophageal cancer. A barium meal uses radiograph instead of an x-ray, for the same outcome.
· Ct Scan and PET Scan
Once the cancer has been diagnosed, a CT (Computed Tomography) or a PET (Positron Emission Tomography) test can estimate the stage of advancement the cancer tumor stands at. These scans also monitor the chest, pelvis, and abdomen to gauge if the cancer has spread. Liver and the lymph nodes are given special focus while examining how far the cancer has spread, as they are commonly affected and most vulnerable.
· EGD – Esophagogastroduodenoscopy
Misdiagnosing Esophageal Cancer
Minor human errors such as negligence while conducting the examinations, or evaluating the test results, can have a major and life threatening impact on the patient. Every test and lab result must be double checked to ensure that the right patient is receiving the right and accurate results, leaving no room for error.
When the basic expected standard of care while diagnosing or treating esophageal cancer is lost, the patient is subjected to long term pain, suffering, financial loss and/or death. The medical practitioners must be made liable to compensate for such medical malpractices.
Contact the New York City medical malpractice attorneys for legal help to pursue compensation from your healthcare providers for your pain and losses. Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff, & Wolff (RMFW) have law offices located in Astoria, Queens, New York City, and two locations in Brooklyn.
RMFW attorneys know your pain and can fight for the best settlement you certainly deserve. Call 212 697 9280 now and discuss your case with confidence and privacy. Their advice is in your best interests.