Difference Between Adenocarcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oesophagus

Difference Between Adenocarcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oesophagus

Difference between Adenocarcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oesophagus: Esophageal cancer has a multilevel challenge when considering oncology, comprising diverse subtypes with unique characteristics and clinical implications. Among the primary classifications, Adenocarcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma are the primary ones under this list. Each one of them has its own unique identity, origins, epidemiological profiles, and prognostic nuances. Adenocarcinoma is caused by glandular cells lining the lower Oesophagus. Also frequently associated with conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Barrett's Oesophagus, whereas Squamous Cell Carcinoma originates from the flat, squamous cells of the upper and middle Oesophagus, is often linked to factors including smoking and alcohol intake. 

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Difference between Adenocarcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oesophagus

Understanding the differences between these two is very important to get a personalised diagnostic outlook. The table below provides the differences between Adenocarcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oesophagus.

Aspect

Adenocarcinoma of the Oesophagus

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oesophagus

Location

Lower portion of the oesophagus

Upper and middle portions of the oesophagus

Risk Factors

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), obesity, smoking

Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor nutrition

Histological Features

Glandular cells

Squamous epithelial cells

Incidence

Increasing in Western countries

Decreasing in Western countries, but still prevalent globally

Association

Often associated with Barrett's oesophagus

Associated with smoking and alcohol consumption

Prognosis

Generally poorer prognosis

Prognosis may vary depending on the stage and other factors

Treatment Options

Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy

Similar to Adenocarcinoma, depending on stage and health status

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What is Adenocarcinoma of the Oesophagus?

Adenocarcinoma of the Oesophagus is a type of cancer that arises in the glandular cells lining the inner surface of the Oesophagus. Usually develops in the lower part of the Oesophagus, near the junction with the stomach. The risk factors for the same include obesity, smoking, Barrett's Oesophagus, and so on.

Causes of Adenocarcinoma of Oesophagus

  • Obesity: Excessive weight of the body specifically around the abdomen results in the increase of pressure on the stomach and can contribute to the GRED. 
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): GRED can be defined as a condition in which acid Chronic GERD, is a condition in which stomach acid discharges into the Oesophagus. This further irritates and inflammation. After a while this could lead to changes in the cell of the Oesophagus, increasing the risk of Over time, this chronic inflammation may lead to changes in the cells of the Oesophagus, increasing the risk of Adenocarcinoma of the Oesophagus
  • Smoking: Smoking is a major cause of many cancers, this list includes Adenocarcinoma of the Oesophagus. Smoking damages the cell lining of the Oesophagus.
  • Alcohol Consumption: Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer, including Adenocarcinoma . Alcohol can irritate the esophageal lining and may contribute to the development of GERD.

Symptoms of Adenocarcinoma of Oesophagus

  • Dysphagia: Difficulty in swallowing food especially solid food which worsens as time passes.
  • Weight Loss: Unintentional weight loss due to difficulty eating and no appetite.
  • Chest Pain: Discomfort or pain in the chest, specifically behind the breastbone.
  • Heartburn: Continuous indigestion, which indicates gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or Barrett's oesophagus, conditions that can predispose to Adenocarcinoma .

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What is Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oesophagus?

Squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus is a type of cancer that arises in the squamous cell lining of the oesophagus. It is the muscular tube that carries food and liquids from the throat to the stomach. This type of cancer usually arises in the upper and middle portions of the oesophagus. Squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus often comes with certain risk factors, including smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, and chronic irritation of the Oesophagus lining by factors such as hot beverages or caustic substances.

Causes of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oesophagus

  • Smoking: The use of tobacco including cigarettes and pipes increases the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus. The risk is higher if one is a heavy smoker.
  • Excessive Alcohol consumption: Excessive consumption of alcohol is strongly associated with an increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus. The risk is higher when alcohol consumption is combined with smoking.
  • Poor nutrition: Diets which are low in fruits and vegetables and are deficient in essential vitamins and minerals may increase the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus.
  • Hot beverage consumption: Drinking hot beverages, such as tea, coffee, or mate, has been linked to an increased risk of esophageal cancer, particularly in regions where the consumption of these drinks is consumed by people living at very high temperatures.

Symptoms of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oesophagus

  • Dysphagia: Swallowing food becomes difficult which may rise over time.
  • Weight Loss: Unintended weight loss, often accompanied by loss of appetite.
  • Pain or Discomfort: Pain or discomfort in the chest or upper abdomen, particularly behind the breastbone, which may worsen with swallowing.
  • Regurgitation: Bringing food back to the mouth without nausea or vomiting. This happens because of difficulty moving food down the oesophagus.

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Similarities between Adenocarcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oesophagus

  • Symptoms: Difficulty swallowing, unintended weight loss, chest pain, continuous coughing, and vomiting blood are a few symptoms present in both types of esophageal cancer.
  • Risk Factors Overlap: There are different risk factors for each of them but both are associated with consumption of alcohol and smoking though the degree of association varies.
  • Diagnostic Approach: The diagnostic approach for both types of esophageal cancer often involves similar tests, such as endoscopy with biopsy to obtain tissue samples for histological examination, and imaging studies like CT scans or PET scans.

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FAQ's

Are there any similarities between Adenocarcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma?

Both esophageal cancers show similar symptoms and do have overlapping risk factors as well though the degree may vary.

How can I reduce my risk of developing esophageal cancer?

Adopting a healthy lifestyle also includes avoiding alcohol, not smoking, and having a balanced and rich diet.

What is Adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus?

Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that arises from glandular cells in the oesophagus, and often develops in the lower part of the oesophagus, near the junction with the stomach.

What is Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oesophagus?

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is a type of cancer that arises from the squamous cells lining the oesophagus. It can occur throughout the oesophagus but is majorly found in the upper and middle sections.

What are the risk factors for Adenocarcinoma ?

Chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Barrett's oesophagus, obesity, smoking, and a diet low in fruits and vegetables are a few risk factors for Adenocarcinoma

What are the risk factors for Squamous Cell Carcinoma?

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the oesophagus is associated with Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, poor nutrition, and hot beverages, and conditions such as achalasia and Plummer-Vinson syndrome are risk factors for squamous cell carcinoma.