EsophagusEsophagus is a muscular tube, extending from the back of the throat through the neck and chest to the stomach. Swallowing depends on well-coordinated muscle activity; when swallowing, the back of the tongue pushes the “ball” of the food into the esophagus, the soft palate closes the passage in the nose, and the tip of the trachea tightens so that the food does not enter the lungs.

By rhythmic compression of the esophagus muscles (peristaltic contractions) the food is pressing through the thorax to the esophagus, where the muscular “valve” (or sphincter) at the entrance to the stomach relaxes and allows the food to enter the stomach.

Difficulties or pain while swallowing (dysphagia) are not a disease, but symptoms of almost all of the esophagus diseases. Additionally, since this is one of the basic symptoms of malignant outgrowth somewhere in the esophagus, contact your doctor immediately if you have difficulties while swallowing. Most likely, it is nothing serious; however, if the condition is serious, an early diagnosis is essential.

Except for one exception – hiatus hernia – esophageal disorders are rare. For example, out of all deaths caused by cancer, only 2% are esophageal cancers.