At the OSUCCC – James, cancer researchers and world-renowned diagnostic experts continually focus on studying esophageal cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure. In fact, the OSUCCC – James consistently paves the way in leading-edge therapies and discoveries, leading to even more highly targeted care and treatment.

Not only are expert cancer researchers at the OSUCCC – James continually working to detect and diagnose esophageal cancer early, but they are also developing additional tests to detect and diagnose cancer even earlier, leading to improved outcomes, faster responses and fewer side effects.

Risk Factors for Esophageal Cancer

An esophageal cancer risk factor is anything that increases your chance of getting the disease.

Long-term heartburn and Barrett’s esophagus are two important risk factors for esophageal cancers. Addressing heartburn or acid reflux early may reduce your chances of developing esophageal cancer.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Esophageal cancer is strongly connected to having GERD – a more serious form of acid reflux in which the contents of the stomach back up into the lower part of the esophagus. Having frequent heartburn or having heartburn that lasts for many years and is not relieved by medicine could be signs of GERD.

Barrett’s Esophagus

Barrett’s esophagus is a condition that occurs when the lining of the esophagus is damaged due to persistent acid reflux. The longer someone has reflux, the more likely it is that they will develop Barrett's esophagus.

People with Barrett's esophagus are much more likely to develop esophageal cancer, but it is important to note that having Barrett's esophagus does not necessarily mean you will get esophageal cancer.

Other risk factors for esophageal cancer include:

  • Excessive tobacco and alcohol use: There is a strong connection between using tobacco and drinking alcohol and esophageal cancer. Each lifestyle factor alone increases the risk of esophageal cancer and that risk is multiplied when using tobacco and drinking are combined. Quitting tobacco is one of the best ways to help prevent esophageal cancer.
  • Age: The majority of esophageal cancers are diagnosed in people 55 years of age or older.
  • Gender: Men are three times more likely to develop the disease than women.
  • Obesity and Diet: People who are obese and who do not eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables are more likely to develop the disease.
  • Ethnicity: African-Americans are affected more by this disease than the rest of the population.

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Not everyone with risk factors will get esophageal cancer. But having certain risk factors may increase your risk of developing the disease. If you are at high risk for esophageal cancer, talk to your doctor about tests to find out if you have early signs of the disease.

If you’ve been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, would like a second opinion or would like to speak with an esophageal cancer specialist, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210