Esophageal Cancer Risk Factors
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What Are the Risk Factors for Esophageal Cancer?
The risk of developing esophageal cancer increases with age. Men are three to four times more likely to develop esophageal cancer than women.
Other esophageal cancer risk factors that may increase the likelihood of developing the disease include:
- Tobacco Use: The use of cigarettes, pipes and cigars all increase the likelihood of developing esophageal cancer.
- Alcohol Use: Excessive use of alcohol can increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer.
- Obesity: People who are overweight have a higher likelihood of developing adenocarcinoma.
Other Conditions: Certain disorders are considered risk factors for esophageal cancer. People with the following conditions have a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer:
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): When acid leaks from the stomach into the esophagus, it causes acid reflux. Chronic acid reflux is called GERD, and increases esophageal cancer risk depending on the frequency and severity of the acid reflux.
- Barrett’s Esophagus: A condition caused by chronic acid reflux that changes the cells lining the esophagus increases the risk of adenocarcinoma.
- Achalasia: When the esophagus is unable to move food into the stomach correctly, the risk of esophageal cancer increases.
- Tylosis: An extremely rare disorder that causes excess skin to grow on the soles of the feet and palms is associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer.
- Esophageal Webs: Tissue flaps that develop on the esophagus, making it difficult to swallow, can increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer.
NOTE: Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer. Not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. If you think you may be at risk, you should discuss it with your doctor.
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