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Causes of Esophageal Cancer

Delve into the complexities of esophageal cancer as we explore its underlying causes, risk factors, and potential preventive measures in this informative article.

  • 12 Oct 2023
  • 4 min read

Esophageal cancer affects the esophagus, the muscular tube connecting your throat to your stomach. It is a challenging disease, with the early signs being unable to swallow solid food (solid food dysphagia), which can progress into difficulty in liquid food swallowing. While it may seem like an elusive condition that’s hard to predict or prevent, identifying some of the primary causes of esophageal cancer can help you understand how you could reduce your personal risk for this serious health issue. In this article, we will go over what causes esophageal cancer and the potential factors that may lead to this severe condition.


How is Esophageal Cancer caused?

Broadly, the causes of esophageal cancer can be categorised as follows:

  • Genetic mutations – Mutations in certain genes (e.g. gene TEC (tylosis with esophageal cancer)) might be the reason behind certain esophageal cancers
  • Family history – A family history of certain genetic syndromes like Howel-Evans syndrome (palmoplantar keratosis), Bloom syndrome (one of the reasons associated with leukemia, lymphomas), Wilms tumour (or chromosomal breakage syndrome); etc., have been found to increase the propensity of esophageal cancer.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) - The presence of GERD has shown a strong correlation to the development of esophageal cancer.
  • Presence of diseases - Diseases like gastrectomy, atrophic gastritis, and caustic strictures. is known to increase the chances of esophageal cancer occurrence.
  • Infections – Infections like the Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection can increase the chances of esophageal cancer.
  • Lifestyle factors – Lifestyle factors play a major role in esophageal cancer incidence. These include –
    • Smoking and Alcohol – Smoking and alcohol consumption on a regular basis may cause damage to esophageal cells and further development of esophageal cancer.
    • Unhealthy Diet – A diet without sufficient fruits and vegetables and rich in processed food increases the chances of esophageal cancer.
    • Drinking beverages – Having more beverages on a daily basis, particularly that of high temperature, are known to enhance the chances of esophageal cancer.
    • Obesity & high body mass index – Both are known risk factors for esophagus cancer.
  • Barrett esophagus – Barrett's esophagus can lead to a unique replacement of tissue in your esophagus, resembling that of your intestines and is one of the most common diseases that can cause esophageal cancer.

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Esophageal cancer is a disease which affects many people each and every year. It is caused by various factors such as lifestyle choices, genetics, environment, age, and more. The good news is, by being more aware of the causes of esophageal cancer, you can be proactive about your health and potentially decrease the risk of developing the disease. A healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, seeing a doctor regularly for checkups, and abstaining from smoking and drinking heavily can help protect against this form of cancer. Also, ensure that you have a health insurance plan in place to safeguard yourself against any financial stress.

Disclaimer: The above blog aims to provide general information about health and related topics. Any information provided in this blog, website or in any linked materials is not intended and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is important that you contact your Doctor before starting a new medicine or health regime.

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