Esophageal Cancer: One of the Most Preventable Cancers
This week marks the start of Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month, a cancer that strikes nearly 17,500 people annually. Often the cancer is not diagnosed until it is in its more advanced stages, making it challenging to treat.
The good news is that esophageal cancers are among the most preventable.
Making simple, everyday changes to what we eat and how much we move could prevent approximately seven out of every ten cases of esophageal cancer in the United States. That calculates into preventing approximately 12,000 cases of esophageal cancer this year.
The esophagus is a muscular tube connecting our throat to our stomach. The hollow tube is what transports the food we eat.
The majority of cancer of the esophagus occurs in men. The cancer usually begins in the cells lining the esophagus, called squamous cells.
AICR’s expert report and its Continuous Updates found:
You can lower your risk by consuming a diet filled with:
- Non-starchy vegetables, such as lettuces, tomatoes, and asparagus
- Foods containing Vitamin C, including broccoli, red peppers and oranges
- Foods Containing Beta-Carotene, such as dark leafy greens, carrots and cantaloupe
The following links to increased risk:
- Excess Body Fat
- Overweight and obesity are associated with gastro-esophageal reflux and Barrett’s esophagus, conditions which damage the cells lining the esophagus in ways that make them prone to cancer.
- Being overweight and obese also increases levels of insulin and related hormones that can stimulate cancer growth
- The body coverts alcohol into acetylaldehyde, a potent carcinogen.
- Alcohol may act as a solvent, making it easier for carcinogens such as tobacco smoke to penetrate the cells lining the esophagus.
- Alcohol can adversely affect how efficiently the body repairs DNA damage and defends against free radicals.
- Smoking and tobacco use also increase the risk of esophageal cancer. People who have had cancers of the lung, mouth, and throat also have a higher risk, possibly because of smoking.
For more information, visit Learn about Esophageal Cancer.