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Living in this world

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Esophageal Cancer and How to Prevent It

Cancer of your esophagus is also known as esophageal cancer, which is the hollow long tube running between the throat and stomach. Food gets transported through the esophagus into the stomach in order to get digested. Originally, this cancer starts within the cells of your esophagus’ lining.

Esophageal cancer is more commonly found among men than women. This cancer may develop anywhere alongside the esophagus. Esophageal cancer is sixth in line with causing the most deaths all around the world due to cancer.

 

In some geographical areas, there is a higher rate of this cancer. Most of the time it’s caused due to alcohol, tobacco, obesity and poor nutritional habits.

 

Some symptoms and signs can include these listed and more:

 

Yet, early stages of this cancer usually won’t cause any symptoms or signs.

Hoarseness or coughing

Heartburn or indigestion problems that get worse

Chest burning, pain or pressure

Sudden loss of weight without being on a diet

Dysphagia/difficulty swallowing

 

Different esophageal cancers

 

The treatment recommended can depend on the kind of esophageal cancer you develop.

 

Adenocarcinoma

 

This cancer starts in the cells of your esophagus’ mucus-secreting glands. Most of the time, it develops in your esophagus’ lower part. It generally affects men with a fair skin. Generally, this type of cancer is very common.

 

Squamous cell carcinoma

 

These are thin, fat cells which line your esophagus’ surface. This cancer mostly develops in the middle and upper areas of your esophagus in these cells. It’s seen as the most widespread cancer in the world.

 

Other types that are rare

 

Some types that are rare can include choriocarcinoma, melanoma, lymphoma, sarcoma, and small cell carcinoma.

 

Some risk factors

 

It’s suggested that these cancers can be caused by chronic irritation of the esophagus, which may contribute to some changes that eventually lead to cancer.

Some factors causing irritation in your esophagus cells might include the following:

 

If you receive treatment with radiation in your upper abdomen or chest

Insufficient vegetables and fruits in your diet

With stable habits of consuming hot liquids

Find it difficult to swallow due to your esophageal sphincter which can’t relax

Experiencing reflux of bile

Excessive use of alcohol and smoking

By being overweight or obese

When you have diseases like GERD/gastroesophageal reflux disease, or Barrett’s esophagus it can change pre-cancerous cells in your esophagus

 

Complications

 

In advanced stages of esophageal cancer, it may cause the following complications:

 

It may cause a lot of pain

Your esophagus can bleed due to cancer, although, generally it may be gradual, sometimes it might also be severe and sudden.

The esophagus may develop an obstruction caused by cancer, which will make it impossible or difficult for liquid and food to go through the esophagus.

 

Esophageal Cancer Prevention

 

It’s not possible to prevent all cancers of the esophagus, although the risk can be reduced greatly of developing cancer through avoiding the risk factors.

 

Avoid alcohol and tobacco

 

Alcohol and tobacco are the biggest risk factor in developing esophageal cancer. On their own they increase your risk significantly, but combined you can double your risk of developing cancer of your esophagus.

 

By avoiding alcohol and tobacco, you can increase limiting your chances of developing cancer, and if you are serious to stop smoking and drinking, it’s possible to get help from your doctor.

 

Follow a healthy diet and watch your body weight

 

It’s important to eat healthily and keep an eye on your weight. Diets that are rich in vegetables and fruit can protect you against cancer of the esophagus. It might be difficult to work in the recommended 5 servings daily of vegetables and fruit, though, it will be worth it in preventing your chances to develop cancer.

 

You can add fruit to desserts, salads, oatmeal, cereals or grab it as a snack. Make sure to add vegetables to all your meals and some of them can also serve as snacks. Watch how much processed and red meats you include in the diet. Obesity is linked to cancer of the esophagus, in particular, adeno-carcinoma, therefore, if you keep your weight healthy it may decrease your risk of getting cancer.

 

Control GERD/gastroesophageal reflux disease

 

When you suffer from heartburn that is persistent and use pills in order to reduce symptoms while ignoring the condition, it won’t help you in any way. Contact your doctor and get your condition under control. It’s a risk factor that is major with cancer, but by controlling the condition in an early stage, it may prevent the possibility of you developing esophageal cancer.

 

You also should consult your doctor to check and make sure you didn’t develop a condition named Barrett’s esophagus, usually occurring in between ten and fifteen percent of patients that suffer from GERD. It’s important to go and get monitored regularly with these conditions and check-up on any early signs of cancer of the esophagus.

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