5 Things to Know About Esophageal Cancer

5 Things to Know About Esophageal Cancer

What is esophageal cancer?

The esophagus is a tube that takes food from the mouth to the stomach. Esophageal cancer is a disease where cancerous cells form in the esophagus. There are several types of esophageal cancer, with the most common types being squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.

How common is esophageal cancer?

More than 17,000 people were diagnosed with the disease in 2018. With research and early detection, the five-year survival rate continues to increase each year.

How can I lower my risk?

Lifestyle, diet and certain medical conditions can increase your risk of developing esophageal cancer. These tips can help decrease your risk of developing the disease.

  • Limit alcohol use.
  • Avoid using tobacco products.
  • Get treated if you have acid reflux or Barrett’s esophagus.
  • Enjoy eating a variety of plant-based foods.
  • Be physically active.

What are the symptoms of esophageal cancer?

Esophageal cancer symptoms can be tricky. Many other health problems can cause the same symptoms, so it’s best to talk with your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms to make sure you receive an accurate diagnosis.

  • Painful or difficult swallowing.
  • Weight loss.
  • Pain behind the breastbone.
  • Hoarseness and cough.
  • Indigestion and heartburn.

If I have esophageal cancer, what are some questions I should ask my doctor?

It is helpful to write down the questions you want to ask your doctor and bring them with you to your appointment. These are some questions to ask:

  • What type of esophageal cancer do I have?
  • What stage of cancer do I have?
  • What are the treatment options for my type and stage of cancer?
  • What other services are available for me during treatment?
  • How can I contact you if I have further questions?
(A Wellness Update is a magazine devoted to up-to-the minute information on health issues from physicians, major hospitals and clinics, universities and health care agencies across the U.S. Online at www.awellnessupdate.com.)
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