Why esophageal cancer cases are on the rise

Latest studies have found that cancer caused death rates have decreased in the United States between 2003 and 2007.  However, some cancers are not decreasing and are instead on the rise.  Esophageal cancer is one which is not only on the rise, but has been found to be one of the fastest growing cancers in comparison to others.

Gastroenterologist Leon J. Yoder, DO, of Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Southwestern Regional Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma stated in an article featured on an Everday Health article that esophageal cancer cases are an “epidemic worldwide.” There are several reasons that experts have found contribute to the increase of esophageal cancer cases in the United States.  Most factors which contribute to the increase are due to lifestyle behaviors such as: obesity, alcohol consumption, and smoking.

As obesity rates continue to climb in the United States, esophageal cancer also increases.  Studies have shown that greater abdominal girth increases the chance of esophageal cancer.    A diet high in fat and low in fruits and vegetables can significantly increase the chance of esophageal cancer.

Alcohol consumption, especially binge drinking, hard liquor and frequent alcohol consumption increases risks for esophageal cancer.   While, smoking rates in the United States have declined, smoking is still a large risk for esophageal cancer. The increase of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) sufferers has also been on a steady rise in the past years.  This contributes greatly to the diagnoses of Barret esophagus, a precancerous condition within the esophagus which can lead to esophageal cancer.   GERD sufferers should be screened for Barret esophagus and for any other abnormalities within the esophagus.

The increase in national cases of esophageal cancer can also be attributed to the combination of several of the indicators listed above.  When combined with family history of gastrointestinal issues, the risk of esophageal cancer increases as well.

There are many simple lifestyle changes that can be made to avoid esophageal cancer.   Losing weight, eating healthy and keeping control of acid reflux or GERD are important ways to help reduce your risk factors for developing esophageal cancer.

Also, early detection through routine doctor checkups and getting screened for precancerous or any other abnormal activity in the esophagus is imperative.  The earlier any abnormal or precancerous cells are detected and treated; the better chance of not only survival of esophageal cancer, but a normal to moderate quality of life after survivorship of esophageal cancer.

 

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