Oesophageal Cancer

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Oesophageal Cancer Insurance

Cancer is the invader no one wishes upon themselves or even their enemies. It is the one disease that doctors themselves are sometimes baffled by. Researchers and scientists are trying to make headway into the causes of the disease so they can find preventions, but the disease always seems to be one step ahead, mutating and finding ways to become stronger. Hence, in most cases, patients are left with a diagnosis and treatment plan that may or may not work. Some cancers have a better outlook than others, while in some cases, the prognosis depends on the patient and their ability to fight back. Oesophageal cancer is a cancer like this.

If a patient wishes to fight oesophageal cancer, they must always be one step ahead. They need to be physically and mentally prepared to beat the disease. The prognosis is not good if they fall weak and their courage breaks. People must remember that those fighting cancers start feeling like a burden to their loved ones physically and monetarily. You can help by being there for them and removing monetary worry by getting health insurance coverage for oesophageal cancer. The right health insurance can help to the point where it becomes a push for the patient to get oesophageal cancer treatment and recover.

If you seek the right oesophageal cancer insurance, you need not look beyond Tata AIG’s medical insurance plans. If you are ever in a hurry and need to get health insurance quickly, you can buy health insurance online from us in just a few minutes. Our plans ensure you can enjoy all the benefits of health insurance while not paying a high premium cost. You also get a large network of cashless hospitals when you buy oesophageal cancer insurance from us, and our customer service has been called par excellence. So when looking for the right health insurance coverage for oesophageal cancer, let Tata AIG be your choice.

Now keeping all this in mind, let us learn more about oesophageal cancer treatment, oesophagus cancer symptoms and the stages of oesophageal cancer, among other things.

What is Oesophageal Cancer?

The oesophagus is a long, porous tube that connects your throat with your stomach. Oesophageal cancer is a type of cancer that develops there. The food you consume is moved through your oesophagus from the base of the head to the stomach so it may be digested. Typically, the cells lining the interior of the oesophagus are where oesophageal cancer develops. Any area of the oesophagus is susceptible to oesophageal cancer. Oesophageal cancer has been found to affect men more than women.

Oesophageal cancer is said to be the 6th most frequent cause of cancer-related fatalities globally. Variable geographic regions have different incidence rates. The consumption of alcohol and tobacco products, certain dietary practices, and weight may contribute to a greater prevalence of oesophageal cancer in specific areas. The prognosis of the disease often depends on which stage the disease has been caught in and if it has progressed to other parts of the body. However, by the time the disease has been diagnosed, it has spread to other parts of the body, making treatment and remission very tough.

Types of Oesophageal Cancer

It is very difficult to make a treatment plan for a disease unless your doctor knows which type your disease falls under. Even under the same umbrella, a disease may have multiple subtypes that may distinguish it and make it unique. Your doctor will then ask you to get some tests done to determine the exact type of your disease to treat it effectively.

Oesophageal cancer has two types based on how it looks under a microscope. We will explain these two types to you to help you understand what your doctor is looking for in the tests.

  • Adenocarcinomas- Adenocarcinomas are malignancies that develop from gland tissues at the base of the oesophagus. The most prevalent form of oesophagal cancer is adenocarcinoma. Usually, it happens nearer to the stomach. Your chances of getting adenocarcinoma oesophagal cancer may be increased by persistent acid reflux, Barrett's oesophagus, GERD, and chronic indigestion.

  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma- Squamous cells, which are typically found in the upper oesophagus, are the source of this specific type of oesophageal cancer. Organ transplantation, tobacco consumption, and strong alcohol intake are all linked to squamous cell cancers.

Stages of Oesophageal Cancer

Knowing the stages of oesophageal cancer is very important as it will determine your course of treatment to a very large degree. Any doctor will only be able to suggest how they would like to proceed after understanding the stage your disease has reached. If a doctor feels that they are not qualified to deal with a certain stage of your disease, they will recommend you to someone with greater expertise in the subject than they do.

Thus, here are the stages of oesophageal cancer that you must know about under the treatment plan much better.

  • Stage 0: The cellular layer surrounding the oesophagus contains precancerous cells.
  • Stage I: Only the oesophagus cellular layer contains cancer cells in stage I.
  • Stage II: Cancer has spread to the external oesophageal wall or the muscle layer. The malignancy may also have migrated to one or two neighbouring lymph nodes.
  • Stage III: Cancer has spread more into the connecting tissue or underlying muscle layer. It can have reached other lymph nodes close to the oesophagus or migrated outside the oesophagus into neighbouring organs.
  • Stage IV- In this stage, cancer has bypassed its original site and has moved to other major organs like the lungs and heart of other organs. Treatment becomes much harder if the cancer is caught in this stage.

Now that you have a greater idea about the stages of oesophageal cancer let us look into the causes and risk factors of the disease.

Oesophageal Cancer Causes

The specific causation of oesophageal cancer is unclear. Oesophagal cells can become cancerous when mutations occur in their DNA. Cells expand and reproduce out of order as a result of the alterations. The oesophagus develops a tumour from the accumulating aberrant cells, which has the potential to spread to other organs and adjacent tissues.

Oesophageal cancer develops when malignant cells in the oesophagus tissue start to grow and finally form a tumour. Although oesophageal cancer is severe, many sufferers don't exhibit any signs until the disease has spread. That's because your oesophagus extends to accommodate huge objects, including enormous food bites. Your oesophagus' entrance begins to become blocked as the tumour enlarges. You can experience swallowing issues or swallowing pain.

While we may not know what exactly gives rise to oesophageal cancer, there are some recognised risk factors that are linked to the disease. Knowing these risk factors can give you the power to help you stay safe from this type of cancer in some cases. However, you need to be mindful that these risk factors may never turn into the disease itself and sometimes you may get the disease without any exposure to risk factors. Often it comes down to your body’s production of unhealthy cells. Thus, while knowing risk factors and protecting yourself from them can be helpful, do not hinge too much on them.

  • Tobacco: Smoking and consuming dry tobacco are considered forms of tobacco usage that can expose you to oesophageal cancer.
  • Alcohol use: Drinking alcohol frequently and/or heavily raises the risk of developing oesophageal cancer.
  • Obesity: Becoming overweight or obese might lead to oesophagal inflammation that could develop into cancer.
  • Persistent acid reflux and Barrett's oesophagus: Chronic uncontrolled acid reflux causes an alteration in the cell walls at the tail end of your oesophagus called Barrett's oesophagus. People who experience chronic heartburn are more likely to get oesophageal cancer even if they don't have Barrett's oesophagus.
  • Human papillomavirus: HPV is a prevalent disease that can alter the tissue in the mouth, feet, hands, genitalia, and voice box.
  • Past cancer: Persons who have suffered from head or neck cancer are more likely to develop oesophageal cancer.
  • Other conditions: Some uncommon and/or inherited disorders have been associated with oesophagal cancer. One of these is achalasia, a rare condition that makes it difficult to swallow. An uncommon genetic condition called tylosis is another condition that causes extra skin to form on the palms and the soles.
  • Workplace chemical exposure: Long exposure to dry-cleaning chemicals raises the likelihood of oesophageal cancer in susceptible individuals.

Oesophagus Cancer Symptoms

Most oesophagus cancer symptoms don't surface until the disease is well along, which may be difficult to treat. Other, more prevalent illnesses may also cause the same symptoms as oesophagal cancer. Getting a proper medical diagnosis is critical if you think you could be at risk. Generally, oesophageal cancer spreads quickly. Your oesophagus is incredibly malleable; as the tumour grows, it will enlarge around it. This explains why symptoms frequently don't appear until your cancer has advanced.

  • Hoarseness in the voice.
  • Hacking cough.
  • Difficulty swallowing food.
  • Indigestion.
  • Nausea.
  • Malaise.
  • Feeling of constant pressure on the chest.
  • Unintended weight loss.
  • Swelling of the throat.
  • Uneasiness.

Oesophageal Cancer Diagnosis

Since oesophageal cancer is frequently not discovered until it has advanced, accurate diagnosis and staging are extremely important for the best prognosis. The first healthcare professional to identify the symptoms of oesophageal cancer could be a gastroenterologist, a medical professional focusing on digestive system disorders. It's crucial to obtain treatment as soon as possible while the cancer is still curable if you have any oesophagus cancer symptoms.

  • Endoscopy: Endoscopy, including a biopsy, is the more frequent test a specialist will carry out to check for oesophageal cancer. It is also known as an esophagogastroduodenoscopy or EGD. A doctor collects tissue specimens from problematic locations using an endoscope to get results.
  • Endoscopic ultrasound: If the findings of your biopsy indicate that you have cancer, your doctor might recommend an endoscopic ultrasound. It is among the most effective imaging techniques for oesophageal cancer detection.
  • PET scan: To find out if cancer has progressed outside of the oesophagus, doctors perform a PET scan, also known as positron emission tomography. In a PET scan, radiological dye is used to highlight specific regions of your anatomy so a specialist can spot any potential malignant growths and treat them.
  • Esophagram or barium swallow: During an X-ray procedure known as an esophagram, a doctor will have you drink a solution containing barium while they observe the passage of the liquid through your oesophagus.
  • VFSE: Video fluoroscopic swallowing examination, or VFSE, is a test that resembles a barium swallow. When you swallow, a doctor digitally films your oesophagus.
  • Endoscopic confocal microscopy: The procedure employs laser innovation to deliver results immediately without needing a biopsy or pathology.
  • CT scan: A CT scan is frequently performed after a cancer diagnosis. It enables medical professionals to determine whether a tumour has moved outside of the oesophagus or how far along it is locally.

Oesophageal Cancer Treatment

There are various oesophageal cancer treatment pathways your doctor may take depending on your cancer's stage. The treatment also depends on the patient's overall health and tolerance. However, almost all doctors will make a few common treatment choices. We will talk about them here so you can get an idea of what to expect.

  • Surgery- Your surgeon can excise the tumour with a minimally intrusive procedure if the cancer is minor and hasn't progressed, employing an endoscope and a few tiny incisions. The surgeon uses the conventional technique to remove a section of the oesophagus and occasionally the lymph nodes surrounding it through a bigger incision. In extreme circumstances, the stomach wall could also need to be partially removed. The procedure's potential side effects can involve discomfort, haemorrhage, inflammation, lung difficulties, trouble swallowing, nausea, and heartburn. They can also include leakage where the reconstructed oesophagus connects to the stomach.

  • Chemotherapy- Drugs are used in chemotherapy to target cancer cells. Surgery can be performed either before or following chemotherapy. It occasionally happens while radiation therapy is being performed. There are numerous potential negative effects of chemotherapy. Most occur as a result of chemotherapy medicines that also destroy healthy cells. The medications your physician prescribes will impact the negative consequences and help you feel better.

  • Radiation- To eliminate cancer cells, radiation therapy employs radiation beams. Brachytherapy uses radiation internally or externally through a device close to the tumour. Chemotherapy and radiation are frequently combined, and the adverse effects are typically more severe.

  • Targeted Therapy- Certain proteins on cancerous cells can be targeted by targeted medicines to treat the disease. Trastuzumab can be used to treat a small percentage of oesophageal malignancies. It attacks the HER2 receptor on the malignant cell's membrane, which has been promoting the growth of the cancer cells. Cancers can also develop new blood vessels in order to grow and spread. Ramucirumab, a targeted therapy that aids in forming new blood vessels, binds to the VGEF protein.

  • Stent Insertion- Your doctor might be able to insert a stent into your oesophagus to hold it clear if cancer has blocked your oesophagus. This will help you consume food but may leave you feeling a little uncomfortable in your throat.

Oesophageal Cancer Prevention

By eating healthy and staying at a body weight that you can sustain, you could lower your risk of oesophageal cancer. You can also lower your risk by refraining from engaging in certain behaviours, such as smoking, binge drinking, or working with certain chemicals. Oesophageal cancer is at increased risk if you have an HPV infection. Get screened for HPV infection and ask your doctor about a vaccine and if you should get one. There isn't a suggested method for oesophagal cancer screening. But your doctor could advise screening if you suffer from Barrett's oesophagus or a few other diseases. To perform this test, your healthcare professional might perform an EGD. Your physician will inform you of the recommended frequency of screening if they suggest it. However, you must keep in mind that there is no set way in which you can prevent the onset of cancer. Since we do not know what makes cancer develop in the body, and because cancer also has a hereditary component, it becomes impossible to curb the disease. These prevention tips help you stay healthy and keep the disease at bay, even if it cannot completely curb it.

Why Use Health Insurance

The number of diseases a person needs to deal with today has increased manifold but so have medical amenities to help people. However, these amenities come with a big price tag. A medical insurance plan helps people from all walks of life access healthcare facilities. And this is only one of the several reasons why health insurance is necessary for people from all walks of life. Some other reasons you should get a medical insurance plan are given below.

  • Costs- Healthcare costs have historically been very high. Nowadays, there has been greater innovation in medicine than anything previously. Thus, it should come as no wonder that medical expenses have also increased. Nevertheless, if you have health insurance, you may be assured that your insurer will handle the financial arrangements so you can concentrate on getting well.
  • Covid-19 Insurance- Covid has already been substantially controlled but hasn't been fully eliminated from our country. After getting the virus, those with multiple co-morbidity criteria and who are chronically ill must seek immediate medical attention. In these situations, realising that you possess the tools to fight the disease even if you get it can aid you to feel a little lighter.
  • Tax Benefits- When you purchase a medical insurance plan, you protect your medical needs and reduce your tax liability. Per section 80D of the Income Tax Act of 1961, you may be eligible for a tax credit of up to 25,000, or 50,000 in the instance of senior citizens, if you have bought a health insurance plan.
  • Pre-and Post-Hospitalisation Payments- You should not forget the amount of money you must also pay as a component of the therapy before and after hospitalisation when you're thinking about the costs associated with being hospitalised. Before being accepted for treatment today, you could be requested to complete tests that could cost you a hefty sum. And when you are released from the hospital, the costs continue. After being discharged, you might have to pay more for procedures. But let's say you possess Tata AIG health insurance. If this is the case, we will pay for your pre-and post-hospitalisation expenses if they are directly linked to the reason for your admittance.

Disclaimer / TnC

Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.

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