According to the American Cancer Society, at least 17,000 new cases of esophageal cancer were diagnosed in 2012. Because the early stages of esophageal cancer may be asymptomatic, the disease is often diagnosed in its later stages when fewer treatment options exist. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce your chances of developing this form of cancer.
The doctors at La Peer Health Systems’ Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence are specialists in the detection and treatment of Barrett’s disease, a condition that can lead to cancer of the esophagus. For more information about esophageal cancer, or to schedule a consultation with our doctors, feel free to call us at 888.407.9017.
What Is Esophageal Cancer?
The esophagus is the long tube that runs from the throat to the stomach. Although esophageal cancer can occur anywhere in the esophagus, it is most common in the lower portion, which is more likely to come into contact with stomach acid.
The following may be symptoms of cancer of the esophagus:
- Regurgitating food
- Chest pain and heartburn
- Trouble swallowing
- Vomiting blood
- Weight loss
Although esophageal cancer is relatively rare in the United States, the disease is more common in people suffering from Barrett’s esophagus. Regular testing and treatment are crucial to monitoring the health of the esophagus in people with Barrett’s.
Barrett’s Esophagus and Cancer
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which continuous exposure to stomach acid causes the cells of the esophagus to undergo changes in color and composition. Over time, this chronic irritation can lead to a dangerous type of cancer called adenocarcinoma.
Other risk factors for adenocarcinoma include:
- Being overweight
- Achalasia (a condition in which the patient has trouble swallowing because of an esophageal sphincter that won’t relax)
- Radiation exposure to the chest
If you’re suffering from Barrett’s esophagus, or if you have one or more risk factors for adenocarcinoma, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What causes esophageal cancer?
A: We don’t yet know the cause of cancer of the esophagus. However, certain risk factors and conditions make developing the disease more likely.
Q: Who is at risk for esophageal cancer?
A: Esophageal cancer strikes men three to four times as often as women. The disease is also more common in people over 55 and those who suffer from Barrett’s esophagus.
Q: If I have Barrett’s esophagus, am I certain to develop cancer of the esophagus?
A: No! Most people with Barrett’s do not go on to develop esophageal cancer. However, patients with Barrett’s esophagus should see a doctor for regular endoscopies and treatment to mitigate their risk of getting cancer.
Q: Can the doctors at the Barrett’s Esophagus Center reduce my risk of getting esophageal cancer?
A: Our GI specialists offer endoscopic radiofrequency ablation with the HALO System as a treatment for Barrett’s esophagus. Removing precancerous cells from the lining of the esophagus may help reduce a patient’s chances of developing cancer of the esophagus.
Q: How is esophageal cancer diagnosed?
A: Doctors diagnose esophageal cancer through upper endoscopies with biopsies and other imaging tests.
Contact the Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence
Located in La Peer’s newly renovated facility in Los Angeles, the Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence boasts excellent patient outcomes in a safe, outpatient center. Contact us today at 888.407.9017 for more information about how you can reduce your risk of developing esophageal cancer.
Next, read about Barrett’s Esophagus Facts and Statistics.