While those kinds of numbers don't qualify it for a "common" status in our country, esophageal cancer has become the fastest-increasing cancer diagnosis in the U.S., up more than 400 percent in the past two decades, according to the Esophageal Cancer Action Network.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS of esophageal cancer include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Losing weight without trying
- Chest pain
There are two main types of esophageal cancer:
- Adenocarcinoma. Adenocarcinoma begins in the cells of mucus-secreting glands in the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma occurs most often in the lower portion of the esophagus. Adenocarcinoma is the most common form of esophageal cancer in the United States.
- Squamous cell carcinoma. The squamous cells are flat, thin cells that line the surface of the esophagus. Squamous cell carcinoma occurs most often in the middle of the esophagus. Squamous cell carcinoma is the most prevalent esophageal cancer worldwide.
- Bile reflux
- Chewing tobacco
- Difficulty swallowing caused by an esophageal sphincter that won't relax (achalasia)
- Drinking very hot liquids
- Eating a diet low in fruits and vegetables
- Eating foods preserved in lye
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Precancerous changes in the cells of the esophagus (Barrett's esophagus)
- Radiation treatment to the chest or upper abdomen
Information for this post was gathered from the following websites:
The Baltimore Sun
Esophageal Cancer Action Network