What you should know about cancer of the Oesophagus

The Oesophagus, also known as the gullet, is a long, muscular tube that connects your throat to your stomach. In adults it is at least 30cm long.
When you swallow food it is carried down the oesophagus to the stomach as the walls of the contract to move the food down. Various lymph glands (that filter fluid, infection and cancer cells) are located close to the oesophagus, in your neck, in the middle of your chest and near the area where the oesophagus joins the stomach.
Cancer occurs when abnormal cells grow, reproduce and form a tumour in the oesophagus. According to the National cancer Registry, cancer of the oesophagus affects about 13% of the South African population, and its incidence is higher in males than females.
Cancer of the oesophagus presents no signs at its onset. In later stages the following signs are noticeable: Progressive difficulty in swallowing, persistent heartburn, indigestion or regurgitation, weight loss and physical exhaustion end weakness.
Who is at risk of Oesophageal cancer? People who: use tobacco products excessively combined with alcohol, smoke, eat maize contaminated with fungal toxins, regularly get infected with Candida Albicans.
To prevent and reduce the risk of Oesophageal cancer one must: follow a balanced eating plan, eat low-fat, high-fibre foods, limit alcohol consumption to two drinks per day if you are male and one if you’re a female, avoid eating contaminated maize and avoid tobacco products.
You can seek for help at your nearest hospital or clinic, treatment centers and available support services in your area or at CANSA. For more information you can also contact Kromdraai clinic, Mondays to Thursdays from 08:00 till 16:00, Fridays from 08:00 till 13:00.
You can also visit the website www.cansa.org.za or contact them toll-free at 0800 22 66 22.