Learn About Esophageal Cancer
HOW PREVENTABLE IS ESOPHAGEAL CANCER?
Few Americans realize that making simple, everyday changes to what we eat and how much we move could prevent an estimated one third of esophageal cancer cases in the US (33 percent).
In other words, if Americans ate smart, moved more and stayed lean, over 5,600 cases of esophageal cancer every year would never happen.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
WHAT ARE ESOPHAGEAL CANCER'S MAJOR RISK FACTORS?
|Weight: If you are obese, your risk for esophageal cancer is higher compared to those at a healthy weight.||Alcohol: Generally, risk for esophageal cancer increases as alcohol consumption increases.|
|Smoking: Both current and former smokers increase their risk of contracting esophageal cancer.||Age: The older you are, the greater your risk.|
HOW COMMON IS ESOPHAGEAL CANCER?
Nearly 17,000 new cases of esophageal cancer occur annually. The vast majority of these cases occur in men.
Esophageal cancer will claim almost 16,000 lives this year alone.
FOCUS ON THE RISK FACTORS YOU CONTROL
To lower your risk for esophageal cancer, make everyday choices that will help you stay at or get to your healthy weight.
Find your healthy weight using the AICR Body Mass Index (BMI) Calculator.
Moving more and eating well help you achieve your healthy weight.
Avoiding alcohol and tobacco also lower your risk.
Aim to get your body up and moving for at least 30 minutes every day. Try anything that:
- Makes your heart beat faster
- Makes you breathe more deeply
- You already enjoy doing
|A good rule of thumb:
Always fill at least 2/3 of your plate with plant foods, and let animal foods (meat and dairy) take up the rest.
IF YOU CHOOSE TO DRINK, LIMIT ALCOHOL
- If you do decide to drink, keep to no more than 1 standard drink (12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of liquor) per day for women, and 2 drinks per day for men. Enjoy unsweetened tea, coffee, club soda or sparkling apple juice instead.
AVOID TOBACCO IN ANY FORM
What the Research Shows
FOOD, NUTRITION, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, AND CANCER OF THE ESOPHAGUS
|STRENGTH OF CURRENT EVIDENCE||DECREASES RISK||INCREASES RISK|
|CONVINCING Effect on Risk:||
|PROBABLE Effect on Risk:||Mate**|
|Source: Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Oesophageal Cancer,
2016 *adenocarcinoma **squamous cell carcinoma
What’s the Link?
- Excess Body Fat Raises Esophageal Cancer Risk
- 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 blood levels of insulin and related hormones that can encourage the growth of cancer.
- Alcohol Raises Esophageal Cancer Risk
- 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.
- Statistically, heavy drinkers tend to have poor diets, which increases their cancer risk.
- Mate Raises Esophageal Cancer Risk
- As drunk traditionally in parts of South America, scalding hot through a metal straw.
For related AICR supported studies visit our research section.
LOOK FORWARD WITH HOPE
Today, your chances for overcoming esophageal cancer and returning to an active and full life are the best they've ever been.
But throughout your treatment, and after its over, you will face many everyday questions. AICR can help.
AICR's CancerResource: A Program for Those Living with Cancer is a free toolkit of information specifically for the newly diagnosed cancer patient. Developed with an Advisory Committee of experts, AICR CancerResource's offers worksheets and guidance on eating and being active both during and after treatment.
Visit our section for Cancer Survivors for more resources and information.
Join the Fight Against Esophageal Cancer
Your support for AICR's cancer research, survivorship, and education programs will help us get one step closer to preventing esophageal cancer and saving lives.
Your gift will help fund emerging research on esophageal cancer and other cancers and improve the quality of health for esophageal cancer patients and survivors.