Oesophagus Cancer - Medical Negligence Solicitors

Medical advances have made it possible to either prevent, cure or greatly lessen the effect of oesophagus cancer, and early detection is at the centre of these advances. Early diagnosis can increase chances for survival, ease pain, shorten recovery time and lessen the associated financial hardship. If you or someone you love has suffered due to the negligence of a medical professional and feel there may be a case for a oesophageal cancer medical negligence compensation claim you should contact us today. Our very experienced oesophagus cancer solicitors work under a contingency fee payment schedule hould you retain our services, we only get paid if we win your case - no win no pay. To make contact with an oesophagus cancer medical negligence solicitor just call the helpline or email our lawyers offices or send the contact form.

Our medical negligence solicitors have offices situated in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Darwin, and Sydney. Do yourself justice - give us a call.

Oesophagus Cancer Medical Negligence

A qualified, knowledgeable doctor will be able to assess your symptoms and recognise if you may be at risk for oesophageal cancer; failure to do so could lead to a case of oesophageal cancer medical negligence. Symptoms that should be investigated by a doctor or healthcare professional include :-

  • difficult or painful swallowing
  • severe weight loss
  • hoarseness or chronic cough
  • vomiting
  • coughing up blood
  • pain in the throat or back, behind the breastbone or between the shoulder blades


The symptoms of oesophageal cancer include difficulty in swallowing and the feeling that food that has been swallowed is sticking on the way down the oesophagus to the stomach accompanied by weight loss, indigestion and sometimes a cough. The unfortunate fact is that all of these symptoms can be caused by other much less serious medical conditions and the opportunity for oesophageal cancer misdiagnosis is common with final diagnosis often not taking place until the condition is well advanced with little chance of survival. Misdiagnosis of oesophageal cancer is often sufficient to ground a claim for compensation for medical negligence against a healthcare practitioner.

Oesophagus cancer is diagnosed after reviewing a patient�s medical information and after several tests. One of these, a barium swallow, entails the patient swallowing a radio opaque liquid that contains barium and then having a series of x-rays taken. Another test, called an oesophagoscopy, uses a small, lighted tube (the endoscope) that collects tissues and cells for later microscopic examination. If you believe that your condition has worsened as a result of medical negligence, contact our oesophagus cancer solicitors for advice at no cost.

Risk Factors

The most important factor when it comes to the treatment of oesophageal cancer is early detection. This form of cancer is especially tricky because it can exist for years before symptoms arise. It is most common, though not limited to, men over 60 with a history of either cigarette or alcohol use and/or abuse. Patients who have had a hiatus hernia or who have worked in an occupation that involves exposure to metal dust (such as pipe fitters, plumbers, welders and sheet metal workers) also have a higher risk.

Factors that may increase the risk of oesophageal cancer are :-

  • being over the age of 60
  • being male
  • smoking cigarettes
  • heavy use of alcohol
  • long-term irritation of the oesophagus
  • previous bouts of other head and neck cancers

Medical Negligence Solicitors

If you have been injured by a healthcare professional including a doctor, dentist, nurse or technician and would like to speak to a medical negligence lawyer without further obligation, just use the helpline. A medical negligence lawyer who deals exclusively in personal injury claims will speak to you, giving free advice and information on how best to preserve your legal right to receive compensation as a result of injuries caused by medical negligence.

Cancer of the oesophagus or gullet is becoming more common in the western world with more men affected by gullet cancer than women. There are also isolated pockets in the East and Far East where the condition is increasing which suggests that diet and environmental factors play a large part. The most common risk factors relate to smoking, drinking strong alcohol especially spirits and poor diet with little evidence of genetic influences or family traits. There is also increased risk for those who suffer from acid reflux which causes tissue damage and is known as Barrett’s Oesophagus.

Oesophageal Cancer Overview

Oesophageal cancer is cancer of the long tube in the chest that takes food from the mouth to the stomach. There are two types of oesophageal cancer—adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Each year, there are about 17,990 new cases of oesophageal cancer. Another 15,210 patients die from the disease. What this means is that many people who suffer from oesophageal cancer will die from their disease.

Cancer begins with changes in DNA in the cells of the oesophagus. The DNA changes cause the cells to grow quickly and out of control. They take over the cells of the body, causing destruction of normal cells. Eventually, other organ systems fail and the patient dies unless the treatment is successful in killing off the abnormal cells. When the malignancy forms a mass, it is called a tumour.

Benign tumours are possible and are rarely dangerous. They may form tumours but don’t invade the surrounding tissue. They do not metastasise to distant parts of the body. They can easily be removed and don’t grow back.

Malignant tumours of the oesophagus have the capacity to kill. It can invade nearby areas and damage nearby tissues. These tumours can spread to other body areas (metastasise) and even if you try to remove it, it can grow back and grow even faster than before.

Oesophageal cancer has cells that spread via breakage away from an existing esophageal tumour. The cancerous cells can travel through the blood stream and through lymph vessels. This is how far metastases happen. The cancer cells attach to distant tissues, setting up new areas of tumours that destroy tissue near the new site.

As mentioned, there are two types of oesophageal cancer. About 18,000 &US citizens will have oesophageal cancer. About 1000 of these Australians will have adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus. These are usually seen in the lower part of the oesophagus, near the junction of the stomach. It is felt that it may be related to having oesophageal reflux and a condition called “Barrett oesophagus”.

Over 500 Australians will suffer from squamous cell carcinoma of the oesophagus. It is much more common in other parts of the world. It is usually found in the upper part of the oesophagus and is related to drinking too much alcohol or smoking excessive amounts of tobacco.

There are many stages of oesophageal cancer. Stage I is called early stage cancer and stage IV is the worst stage of cancer; it has metastases and a poor prognosis. The stage of oesophageal cancer depends upon how deeply the cancer has invaded the oesophageal wall, the location in the oesophagus the tumour is at and the degree of spread of the cancer to lymph nodes near the wall of the oesophagus or elsewhere. The grade or angriness of the cancer cells play a role in the ultimate stage that the cancer is said to be in.

The doctor will diagnose the cancer of the oesophagus by doing an endoscopy, which uses a flexible lighted camera that can go down the oesophagus and into the stomach. If suspicious ulcerations or tumours are seen, then a biopsy can be done that can identify the nature of the abnormality. If it is found to be cancerous, then CT scan or MRI scan are used to identify areas of metastasis in places like the liver, chest or lymph nodes. Complications can occur if the doctor fails to identify and treat the primary tumor or the metastatic tumours.

The treatment of oesophageal cancer can involve surgery to remove the tumour and surrounding lymph nodes. In some cases, the whole oesophagus has to be removed with feeding done through a gastrostomy tube.

Radiation therapy is important in getting at areas of cancer cells near the primary tumour and killing off single areas of metastasis. It uses x-radiation at high frequencies to kill rapidly growing cells such as is seen in cancer.

Chemotherapy works within the whole body to kill rapidly growing cancer cells. Like radiation, it is more often done following the major surgical procedure to kill residual cells. Targeted therapy is IV therapy that travels throughout the body but is directed toward oesophageal cancer cells.

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here