Do I have Esophageal Cancer?
Cancer of the esophagus is relatively rare, but the incidence of this disease has been increasing in recent years.1,2 In the United States, the lifetime risk of developing esophageal cancer is about 1 in 125 for men and 1 in 435 for women.
What are the symptoms of esophageal cancer?
The most common symptom of esophageal cancer is dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing. Other symptoms may include:
- Dysphagia: Difficulty swallowing, or the feeling that food is stuck in your throat
- Odynophagia: Painful swallowing
- Weight loss
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood
These symptoms are also seen with other conditions, so it is important to see a doctor if you experience any of them. If you have difficulty swallowing, it is important to tell your doctor so that he or she can perform tests to determine the cause. Esophageal cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage, when it is more difficult to treat.
Types of esophageal cancer
There are two main types of esophageal cancer, squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of esophageal cancer, and it is more common in men than women. Adenocarcinoma is more common in women than men and is more likely to occur in people who are overweight or obese.
What are the risk factors for esophageal cancer?
Risk factors for esophageal cancer include:
1- Tobacco use: Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of esophageal cancer.
2- Alcohol use: Drinking alcohol increases the risk of esophageal cancer.
3- Acid reflux: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition that causes stomach acid to back up into the esophagus. This can damage the esophagus and increase the risk of cancer.
4- Barrett's esophagus: This condition is caused by chronic acid reflux. It occurs when the lining of the esophagus is damaged, and abnormal cells grow in the esophagus. Barrett's esophagus increases the risk of esophageal cancer.
5- Obesity: People who are obese have an increased risk of esophageal cancer.
6- Gender: Men are more likely than women