The esophagus connects the mouth to the stomach and carries food into the stomach. The esophagus is 10 to 13 inches in length. Adult person’s esophagus under normal circumstances is three-quarters of an inch at it’s smallest point.

The wall of the esophagus consists of several layers. Cancers of esophagus start from its inner layer and grows outward. The inner layer of the esophagus is called mucosa, which consists of mainly two parts, the epithelium and the lamina propria. The epithelium forms the lining of the esophagus and is made from cells called squamous cells. The lamina propria is a thin layer of connective tissue right under the epithelium.

There is a thin layer of muscle tissue under the mucosa called the muscular mucosa. The next layer is sub-mucosa. Some parts of the esophagus have mucus-secreting glands in this layer. The layer under the sub-mucosa is a thick band of muscle called muscularis propria. This layer of muscle contracts in a coordinated, rhythmic way to force food along the esophagus from the throat to the stomach. The outermost layer of the esophagus is formed by connective tissues. It is called adventitia.

The upper part of the esophagus has a special area of muscles at its beginning that relaxes to open the esophagus when it senses food or liquid coming towards it. This muscle is called the upper esophageal sphincter. The lower part of the esophagus that connects to the stomach is called the gastroesophageal junction, or GE junction. There is a special area of muscle near the GE junction called the lower esophageal sphincter. The lower esophageal sphincter controls the movement of food from the esophagus into the stomach and it keeps the stomach’s acids and digestive enzymes out of the esophagus.

There are two main types of esophagus cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Since the entire esophagus is normally lined with squamous cells, squamous cell carcinoma can occur anywhere along the length of the esophagus.

Adenocarcinoma starts in glandular tissues, which normally does not cover the esophagus. Before an adenocarcinoma can develop, glandular cells must replace an area of squamous cells as in barret’s esophagus.

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Source :- Ayurveda

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