Esophageal cancer is a type of cancer that is located in the tissue of the hollow muscular area known as the esophagus. This area is used to transport food and liquid to the stomach.
This type of cancer typically starts out in the lining of the esophagus in the interior region, and continues to spread in an outward manner. As time progresses, tumors can grow to the point that they cause liquids and food to become hung up, leading to difficulty swallowing, as well as pain and discomfort. Esophageal cancer is commonly undiagnosed in the earliest stages, which leads to a poor quality of life and low survival rates.
Perhaps the most common type of esophageal cancer is referred to as squamous cell carcinoma. This form of the disease makes up about ninety five percent of all cases of esophageal cancer worldwide. This is the most common form of the disease because the esophagus is made up of a large number of flat, thin squamous cells that resemble roofing shingles. Squamous cell carcinoma can originate in any area of the esophagus, but is typically first noted in the central area.
Another form of esophageal cancer, adenocarcinoma, is becoming more common in white males located in the western portion of the world. The rates of this form of the disease are rising so quickly, they are quickly matching the number of cases of squamous cell carcinomas. Adenocarcinoma originates in the glandular tissue that is not regularly found in the esophageal lining. Prior to adenocarcinoma forming, the squamous cells are taken over by glandular cells. This condition is usually seen in patients with Barrett’s esophagus, which is caused by chronic acid reflux and considered to be a precancerous condition.
There are still another small percentage of esophageal cancers that fall under the classifications of sarcomas, melanomas, or lymphomas.
The total number of cases of cancers affecting the esophagus continues to increase in number around the world; however, men are usually more affected than women. While, as previously stated, the majority of cases are found in the western world, there are also high numbers of this type of cancer that are being seen in the Far East. This leads some experts to think that there may be some correlation between environmental issues, diet, and esophageal cancer. In fact, the risk factors that are attributed to esophageal cancer are as follows: smoking, drinking (especially alcohol that is of a higher proof), and a poor diet. There is very little proof to link the condition to hereditary factors. Individuals who suffer with the condition of acid reflux are also at a higher risk for developing esophageal cancer, as the tissues in the throat can become damaged over time from erosion due to the contact with the acid.
While early symptoms of esophageal cancer often go undiagnosed, and in some cases appear as just irritations, there are key elements to watch for. These symptoms include: difficulty swallowing, indigestion, a cough that cannot be explained, and a feeling that food is lodged in the windpipe and has a difficult time passing to the stomach. Because all of these symptoms can also be a sign of other medical issues, many of which are far less serious, it is quite common that cases of esophageal cancer are misdiagnosed. This can lead to a delay in a proper diagnosis that comes too late, causing the cancer to spread to other areas, which drastically reduces the chances of a patient’s survival. As is the case with other types of cancers, the best possible prognosis comes when a diagnosis is made early and the cancer is found in its earliest stages. In the event that a misdiagnosis of esophageal cancer has taken place, you may have grounds for a claim of medical negligence and you may be able to seek compensation for your damages. The medical professional who made the mistake, the testing center, and even the medical facility may be able to be held accountable.
Just as with other types of medical malpractice claims, it is important to seek the help of a skilled personal injury attorney who specializes in the area of medical negligence. These professionals know the ins and outs of this area of the law quite well and can help you to establish your claim in the proper way. He or she can review all of your medical details and help you determine the best way to proceed. All of your paperwork will be handled on your behalf, and negotiations with the medical staff’s attorneys will be dealt with as well.
Since these cases can be quite complex, and often center on a variety of intricate details, it is never a good idea to go it alone. Many states have strict statutes of limitations on these types of cases, as well as filing guidelines that must be met in order for a case to proceed. Missing even one small detail can cause your case to be thrown out, leaving you little to no recourse.
Perhaps best of all, most medical negligence personal injury attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means you pay nothing upfront, and you never have to worry about how to fund your claim as it progresses throughout the court system. This can be a tremendous comfort when you are faced with a scary diagnosis, as well as the reality that your care was not properly managed. You will have great peace of mind in knowing that you are free to focus on your health, your recovery, your treatments, and your family, while your legal rights are being protected by a qualified professional.
Even though the harm that a misdiagnosis, or a delayed diagnosis brings cannot be undone, you can help to protect yourself and your family by seeking the justice you deserve. Compensation can be sought for your past medical bills, your current medical bills, your future medical bills, and even for lost income from a job. In some cases you may also be entitled to receive damages for pain and suffering s well as punitive damages.