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Cancer in the esophagus

This cancer form has changed character in the last 20 years. Previously, cancer in the esophagus was primarily squamous cell carcinoma. Today adenocarcinomas constitute approximately 50% of all esophageal cancer. 

The esophagus stretches from the pharynx in the throat down through the thoracic cavity to the stomach and functions as a transport organ for food. 

The length from the throat is about 15 cm from the teeth while the length to the stomach is about 45 cm from the teeth. The entire esophagus is covered with multiple layers of non-keratinizing squamous cells.

There are national guidelines (1) for diagnosing and treating esophageal cancer. This cancer type is rare and treatment is relatively complicated. In Norway, there is consensus that treatment should be centralized.

Incidence

Esophageal cancer is a rare form of cancer in Norway. The incidence has been relatively stable. In 2013 there were 255 new cases registered in Norway (23). The average age for this cancer type is 70 years. Spinocellular esophageal cancer occurs slightly more frequently in men than women.

 

Age-specific incidence of esophageal cancer, 2009–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway

 

 

Incidence of esophageal cancer, 1954–2013.

Source: Cancer Registry of Norway

 

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