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I know that esophagus is hollow tube that leads from mouth and throat to the stomach. However, beside that I know where is it placed, I have no idea what is this. I started to wonder about it since one friend of mine is diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Can you tell me more because I want to understand as much as I can about his condition?

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The walls of the esophagus propel food to the stomach not only by gravity, but by rhythmic waves of muscular contractions called peristalsis as well. Just below the junction of the throat and the esophagus is upper esophageal sphincter. Slightly above the junction of the esophagus and the stomach is another, known as lower esophageal sphincter. When the esophagus is not in use, these sphincters contract so that food and stomach acid do not flow up from the stomach to the mouth, which is important to protect esophagus of stomach acid. During swallowing, the sphincters relax so food can pass to the stomach, but still acid cannot pass upper parts. With age, the strength of esophageal contractions and the tension in the sphincters decrease, this is called presbyesophagus. This makes older people more prone to backflow of acid from the stomach, which means to have gastroesophageal reflux, especially when lying down after eating. Two of the most common symptoms of esophageal disorders are dysphagia and chest or back pain. Esophageal disorders could be obstruction-related, propulsion-related, or injury-related. In disorder called esophageal varices, the veins at the lower end of the esophagus become dilated and they bleed easily.
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