Esophageal cancer is one of the most lethal of all malignant diseases. The authors address the etiology and clinical findings of this type of cancer, as well as the surgical management, nursing care, and postoperative complications.

With approximately 12000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States and a nearly equivalent number of deaths, esophageal cancer remains one of the most lethal of all malignant diseases.1,2 The tumor occurs more often in men than in women and more often in African Americans than in whites. The incidence of esophageal cancer increases with age.3,4 

Squamous cell and adenocarcinoma are the 2 most common histopathologic forms of esophageal cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma occurs more often in African Americans and Asians than in other groups, and the incidence is higher in China, Japan, and Iran than in other countries.3 Squamous cell carcinoma mainly occurs in the upper...

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