Page 5 - Family Help
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Understanding oesophageal (gullet) cancer

                  This booklet gives information and support to people who have cancer of the
                  oesophagus or stomach, and their families and friends. Each year nearly 8,000
                  people in the UK are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and approximately
                  7,000 people with stomach cancer. In this booklet we aim to answer some of the
                  questions you may have about its diagnosis and treatment.

                  The oesophagus

                  The oesophagus (pronounced e-sof-fa-gus) is also known as the gullet. It is a
                  long, muscular tube that connects your throat to your stomach. It is at least 30 cm
                  (12 inches) long in adults. When you swallow food, it is carried down the
                  oesophagus to the stomach and the walls of the oesophagus contract to move the
                  food downwards. The upper part of the oesophagus runs behind, but is separate
                  from, the windpipe (trachea). The windpipe connects your mouth and nose with
                  your lungs, enabling you to breathe.

                  A tumour can occur anywhere along the length of the oesophagus. Various lymph
                  nodes (which filter fluid and can trap bacteria, viruses and cancer cells) are near
                  the oesophagus, in your neck, in the middle of your chest and near the area
                  where the oesophagus joins the stomach.

                  Cancer of the oesophagus is becoming more common in Europe and North
                  America. Men are affected more than women and it occurs generally in older

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