Esophageal Cancer On the Rise
Prevention of Esophageal Cancer: Changing Habits for Hope
Prevention is the key for any form of cancer. Because esophageal cancer
often spreads before it's detected, prevention is even more important.
There are many things you can do to lower your risk for esophageal
- Quit tobacco! Stopping smoking will lower the risk for many cancers and
other diseases, not just esophageal cancer
- Limit alcohol to one to two drinks per day for men, and one drink per day
- Eat a diet high in green and yellow vegetables, and a variety of
- Taking aspirin or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for other
reasons may reduce the risk for esophageal cancer. Don't start a new
medicine without talking to your doctor.
What about treating reflux symptoms? Since reflux and Barrett's esophagus
cause esophageal cancer, it seems likely that treating reflux symptoms would
prevent esophageal cancer. Surprisingly, there is so far no proof of this.
Nevertheless, the American College of Gastroenterology recommends:
- Treatment of GERD symptoms, in the hope of preventing esophageal
- Upper endoscopy in those with chronic GERD symptoms, and
- Periodic upper endoscopy in those with Barrett's esophagus.
However, the National Cancer Institute recommends againstscreening the
general population. Endoscopy can cause complications, and esophageal cancer is
relatively rare. Screening everybody, they say, would probably create more
problems than cures.