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Cancer of the Esophagus

  • Posted: 04/04/2013

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The Esophagus

The esophagus is a muscular tube in the chest. It's about 10 inches (25 centimeters) long.

This organ is part of the digestive tract. Food moves from the mouth through the esophagus to the stomach.

This picture shows the esophagus and nearby organs.

The wall of the esophagus has several layers:

  • Inner layer or lining: The lining (mucosa) of the esophagus is wet, which helps food to pass to the stomach.
  • Submucosa: Glands in the submucosa layer make mucus, which helps keep the lining of the esophagus wet.
  • Muscle layer: The muscles push food down to the stomach.
  • Outer layer: The outer layer covers the esophagus.

This text may be reproduced or reused freely. Please credit the National Cancer Institute as the source. Any graphics may be owned by the artist or publisher who created them, and permission may be needed for their reuse.