Oesophageal cancer refers to cancer that develops within the oesophagus, the tube that transports food from your throat to your stomach to be digested.
There are three layers of the oesophageal wall, which include the mucosa (made up of squamous cells), submucosa and muscle layer (muscularis propria), in addition to the outer covering (adventitia).
The two most common types of oesophageal cancer are:
- Adenocarcinoma – cancer that develops in the glandular cells which line the oesophagus. This type of cancer typically forms in the lower section of the oesophagus
- Squamous cell carcinoma – cancer which begins in squamous cells that line the oesophagus. This often develops in the middle and upper part of the oesophagus
Other types of oesophageal cancer include small cell carcinoma, lymphoma, neuroendocrine tumours and gastrointestinal stromal tumours.
Oesophageal cancer is the 19th most common cancer in Singapore, with men more likely than women to develop oesophageal cancer.