Oesophageal cancer is the sixth most common malignancy in the world, accounting for approximately 10% of all gastrointestinal malignancies. It accounts for 4.9% (an estimated 400,000) of all cancer deaths, resulting in it being the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths. It exhibits a significant geographical variation which probably is a result of different environmental factors contributing to the etiology of the disease. The two commonest occurring histopathological types of oesophageal cancer are Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) and Adenocarcinoma (AC).
Squamous Cell Carcinoma mostly affecting the upper two-thirds of the oesophagus arises from the squamous epithelial lining of the oesophagus with smoking, alcohol consumption, oesophageal dysfunctions (achalasia, Plummer-Vinson syndrome), dietary deficiencies, celiac disease, lye strictures and ingestions (hot beverages, pickled or fermented foods) as associated risk factors in its development. Adenocarcinoma tends to be localized in the lower part of the oesophagus and gastro-oesophageal junction and is known to arise from pre-existing Barrett’s columnar metaplasia. In the past decades, the incidence of SCC has remained stable with its decline occurring in some parts of the world. Adenocarcinoma on the contrary, has increased dramatically especially in the United States and Western Europe.