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Esophageal Cancer Rising Among the Middle-Aged

Esophageal Cancer Alarmingly Rising Among the Middle-Aged

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About 20,640 U.S. adults will be diagnosed with esophageal cancer this year, according to estimates from the American Cancer Society (ACS). This type of cancer, which affects the esophagus — the tube that carries swallowed food from your throat to your stomach — has been found most often in people 65 and older, especially men.

"Esophageal Cancer Rising Among the Middle-Aged"
Esophageal Cancer Rising Among the Middle-Aged

The ACS says that, overall, diagnosis rates have been fairly steady in recent years. A report, however, suggests that esophageal cancer may be increasing among middle-aged people.

Twenty years ago, a cancer reprieve for my husband on one of the country’s most terrible days.

Ranges of ages suffering from esophageal cancer:

Based on data from roughly 5 million people, the researchers found that, among those ages 45 to 64, the esophageal cancer rate nearly doubled from 2012 to 2019.

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In addition, the prevalence of Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous condition, rose about 50 percent in that age group in those years. Barrett’s esophagus, which usually develops when the lining of the swallowing tube is damaged by chronic acid reflux, is considered a common precursor of this cancer.

Factors that can irritate cells in the esophagus, and thus increase the risk for this deadly cancer, include smoking, drinking alcohol, having gastrointestinal reflux disease, and being obese.

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Symptoms:

This type of cancer typically has few symptoms until it has become advanced. Then, signs may include:

Difficulty swallowing,

Coughing,

Heartburn,

Indigestion,

and unexplained weight loss.

Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are among the treatment options. Esophageal cancer will prove fatal to an estimated 16,410 U.S. adults this year, according to the ACS.

The researchers, who presented their findings at the 2022 Digestive Disease Week conference, say that more middle-aged people should be screened for esophageal cancer.

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