Esophageal Cancer Prevention And Risk Factors

The American Cancer Society estimates 19,260 new esophageal cancer cases will be diagnosed this year. This includes 15,310 men and 3,950 women. Deaths from this cancer are estimated at 15,530 in 2021. However, treatment for esophageal cancer has improved and survival rates are getting much better. You would be wise to learn more about esophageal cancer prevention and risk factors.

Your Tender Esophagus

The tube that moves food from your mouth down to your stomach is known as the esophagus, and cancers can develop in the lining of your esophagus. It can occur anywhere along the esophagus, since everything we eat and drink uses this transport to reach the stomach. When certain factors are present, we can damage and inflame our esophagus.

Risk Factors For Esophageal Cancer

Let’s look at the following risk factors and note how many apply to you, your lifestyle, and eating habits:

  • Men are more likely to get esophageal cancer.
  • The chance of getting esophageal cancer increases with age.
  • Smoking is a major risk factor including cigarettes, pipes, cigars, and chewing tobacco. The more a person uses tobacco and the longer it is used increases the risk.
  • Drinking alcohol increases your risk. The more you drink, the higher the chance. Using both tobacco and alcohol becomes a major risk factor.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common problem for many. Stomach acids flow backward into the esophagus causing heartburn and pain which can irritate the esophagus.
  • GERD can lead to Barrett’s esophagus which is a complication that arises from having long-term GERD. The stomach acids continuingly irritate the lining of the esophagus, and this leads to precancerous changes which increases the risk for cancer.
  • Being overweight or obese.

Ways To Lower Your Risk And Prevent Esophageal Cancer

Begin by making healthy decisions. Start with eliminating or reducing any alcohol consumption and stop smoking! Next, eat more fruits and vegetables and reduce consumption of processed meats.

Start a campaign to lose weight which may be contributing to the risk of cancer. Regular exercise will help with that.

Increase your daily vitamins like beta-carotene, Vitamin E, selenium, and iron.

One important way to lower your risk and prevent esophageal cancer is to see thoracic surgeon Gregory Brevetti, MD for a screening, especially if you notice any symptoms. Call (631) 353-0909 to schedule a screening at our Port Jefferson office today, or request an appointment through our secure online form.