Difficulty swallowing, a bite in the throat, and painful swallowing, especially if persistent, can be a sign of esophageal cancer.
Who is most at risk for esophageal cancer?
In this article, the predisposing factors for esophageal cancer will be examined
Risk factors are the same factors that if a person has one or more of them, he or she is more likely to develop esophageal cancer than a person who does not have a risk factor.
These risk factors include the following:
Age is a determining factor in increasing the risk of esophageal cancer, as only a small number of people with esophageal cancer are less than fifty-five years old.
Men are more likely than women to develop esophageal cancer
Gastric acid reflux into the esophagus
The lower part of the esophagus in people with gastric reflux is constantly exposed to direct contact with gastric acid and undergoes cellular changes.
Gastroesophageal reflux is called GERD for short.
Changes in cells of the lower esophagus over time can develop into a type of esophageal cancer called “esophageal adenocarcinoma”.People with GERD are slightly more likely to develop cancer than healthy people. People who have more GERD symptoms are more likely to have it.
Symptoms of gastric reflux
Symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease include the following:
- Sputum and secretions in the back of the throat that constantly make a person clear the throat
- Chronic cough
Of course, it must be said that all people with GERD will not get esophageal cancer, but will only have a better chance of developing it.
- Brrett’s esophagus
In people who have had reflux for a long time, a complication called “Mary Bart” occurs
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which normal cells in the lower esophagus are replaced by abnormal cells that actually look like cells in the stomach and intestines.
These cells are more resistant than esophageal cells to the constant stimulation of stomach acid.
Over time, these cells become more and more abnormal, eventually leading to esophageal adenocarcinoma.
People with Barrett’s esophagus have a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer
Other causes of esophageal cancer
- Lack of physical activity
Planned and regular physical activity reduces the risk of developing esophageal cancers, so people who are more active during the day are less likely to develop esophageal cancer.
- Obesity and overweight:
Perhaps the reason that obese people are more at risk for esophageal cancer is the higher prevalence of GERD in overweight people. Of course, poor diet is more common in overweight people and also obese people are less active.
- alcohol consumption:
Drinking alcohol increases the risk of esophageal cancer (SCC) (esophageal squamous cell involvement)
- Tobacco consumers:
Tobacco users in any form, including cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco, etc., have a high risk of developing esophageal cancer of both esophageal adenocarcinoma and scc.
It is interesting to know that people who smoke at least one pack of cigarettes a day will be twice as likely as non-smokers in the community to develop esophageal cancer.
If these people also stop smoking, their risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma will not be reduced, but smoke cessation will reduce their risk of developing SCD.
Obviously, the risk of developing esophageal cancers will be directly related to the duration of tobacco use
The muscles of the lower esophagus are contracted in people with achalasia, and the so-called gastric entrance narrows and swallowed food stays in the end of the esophagus for a long time. Cells at the end of the esophagus undergo changes due to their direct and prolonged contact with food, which sometimes leads to esophageal cancer.
Vinson’s Plummer Syndrome
People with this syndrome have rings in the lower part of their esophagus that make it difficult to swallow when eating large pieces of meat and bread, in addition to difficulty swallowing (dysphagia); they also have iron deficiency anemia.
These people are more likely to develop esophageal cancer than the general population
It is an inherited and rare disease in which people are at high risk for esophageal cancer and should be checked regularly with early initiation of esophageal endoscopy.
People with Tylosis have extra skin on the palms and soles of the feet.
- Chemical damage to the esophagus:
Industrial substances, such as alkaline compounds in the soap industry, can cause abnormal changes in the esophagus.
In addition, people who for any reason mistakenly eat alkaline cleansing compounds such as bleach experience structural changes and narrowing of the esophagus.
Genital wart virus (HPV)
One-third of esophageal cancer patients studied in Asia and Africa have the virus. In developed American and European countries, the virus causes very few esophageal cancers.