Esophageal cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the esophagus, a long hollow tube that connects the throat to the stomach, permitting food to pass. According to the American Cancer Society, esophageal cancer is more common among men than women in the United States.
Types of Esophageal Cancer
There are two types of esophageal cancer, adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
Adenocarcinoma esophageal cancer is the most familiar type of esophageal cancer. This form of cancer occurs in the glandular cells in the lining of the esophagus. Most often, adenocarcinoma esophageal cancer happens in the lower part of esophagus near the stomach.
Squamous cell esophageal cancer occurs in the flat cells located along the esophagus, and is mostly located in the upper and middle portion of the esophagus.
What are the risk factors for Esophageal Cancer?
If you are African American, you are more likely to be diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, and if you are Caucasian, adenocarcinoma esophageal cancer is more common. Other risk factors that may exasperate the esophagus and cause esophageal cancer may include:
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- GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
- Overuse of alcohol or tobacco
- Barrett’s disease
- Diet low in fruits and vegetables
- Radiation treatment
- Age 55 and older
- Exposure to certain chemicals in the workplace