Risk factors and treatment options for oesophageal cancer

Posted by on Jan 30, 2013 in Diseases, Health and Fitness, TreatmentsNo comments

Oesophageal cancer is a malignant cancer of the lining of the oesophagus, a tube like structure that facilitates an easy movement of food particles and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. Even though it sounds uncommon, surprisingly it is not a rare form of cancer. This is exemplified by the fact that it is the ninth most common type of cancer in the United Kingdom, with over 8000 new cases being detected every year.Therefore, familiarizing yourself with the plausible risk factors of oesophageal cancer and the wide range of treatment options available in the market can help you cope with the symptoms of this fatal disease.

Risk factors associated with oesophageal cancer



  1. Age


People over the age of 55 years have an increased susceptibility to oesophageal cancer due to the numerous risk factors and environmental toxins that they have been exposed to, all throughout their lives. The risk increases with age, with 72 years being the average age of detection of oesophageal cancer.


  1. Gender


Men are more than twice as likely as women to encounter oesophageal cancer at some point in their lives. Recent studies have reported that the rate of incidence of oesophageal cancer has increased by more than 60% in men, as opposed to an increase of 14% in women, in the last 30 years.


  1. Poor nutritional diet


Consumption of a diet low in vegetables and fruits, especially in vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, B1, C and zinc can increase your chances of developing oesophageal cancer. This finding has been confirmed by studies that have shown that oesophageal cancer is widespread among people belonging to low socioeconomic status. Nutritional deficiencies lead to the impairment of the normal functioning of the oesophagus, thus making it an ideal location for the growth of malignant tumor. Moreover, foods that are heavily barbecued or roasted, coarse food particles and very hot fluids have also been reported to encourage the growth of cancerous cells in the oesophagus.

Several other factors like family history, smoking, alcohol consumption, exposure to thermal irritants and toxic chemicalsare also responsible for the striking higher incidence of oesophageal cancer. In addition, previous medical conditions like Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, Barrett’s oesophagus, Plummer-Vinson Syndrome, Achalasia, Tylosisand Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infectionare also known to considerably increase your risk of developing oesophageal cancer.

Treatment options for oesophageal cancer


The symptoms of oesophageal cancer are not evident until the cancer progresses to a great extent and spreads to the surrounding tissues. Therefore, the treatment for oesophageal cancer depends largely on the stage in which it has been detected and can only prolong the lives of the patients by a couple of years.

In early stages of oesophageal cancer, Endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) is used to remove the cancerous cells that adhere to the mucosal lining of the oesophagus. However, surgical removal with or without radiotherapy and chemotherapy are required for removing oesophageal cancers that have grown in size and have metastasized to other parts of the body, especially the upper portion of the stomach.

Nevertheless, it is important to seek medical advice from a cancer doctor to help you weigh the risks and benefits of all the available treatments and adapt a treatment appropriate enough for treating the specific symptoms of the cancerous stage that you are in.

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