Learn More About Esophageal Cancer

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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.

AICR’S latest report on esophageal cancer found that maintaining a healthy weight can lower your risk. Drinking alcohol links to a higher risk of squamous cell carcinoma.

Lifestyle and Esophageal Cancer Risk

Weight: Excess body fatness puts you at greater risk for esophageal cancer.

  • 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: Risk for esophageal cancer increases as alcohol consumption increases.

  • 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.

Smoking: Both current and former smokers increase their risk of contracting esophageal cancer.

Age: The older you are, the greater your risk.

Diet: The traditional South American drink, maté, is traditionally drunk through a scalding hot through a metal straw and may raise esophageal cancer risk