The harmful effects of smoking are well known; one in five deaths is attributed to tobacco use every year and yet approximately 46.6 million adults in the United States continue to smoke cigarettes. Countless studies have proven that tobacco use and smoking greatly increases the risk of cancer, including esophageal cancer.
Recent studies have shown that cigarette smoking is the leading factor which can lead to cancerous cells to develop within the esophagus. Smokeless tobacco and cigars also contribute to deadly esophageal cancer. The frequency or amount of tobacco use does not reflect on the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Any inhalation of cigarette smoke can increase a patient’s risk of cancerous cells to form in the esophagus. Secondhand smoke exposure can also lead to serious injury, disease and death.
Prevention and early detection of esophageal cancer is crucial to preventing fatality. Cancerous cells begin developing in the inner layer within the esophagus and over time travel to other regions of the body. Unfortunately, symptoms of esophageal cancer do not typically arise until the cancer has progressed to stage 5, which causes the cancer to be much more difficult if not impossible to treat.
Patients with Barret esophagus, heartburn or GERD are put at a much greater risk for esophageal cancer when they combine the use of cigarettes. Abstaining from cigarette and all other tobacco products is fundamental in the prevention of esophageal cancer and other cancers.
Need help quitting? Read our post on 77 things to do instead of smoking
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