Hefty Evidence in the Fight Against Esophageal Cancer
Better Life Experts | September 28, 2010

The American Institute of Cancer Research has released a policy report that finds esophageal cancer to be one of the most highly preventable cancers in humans. Despite its being highly preventable through dietary changes, physical activity and maintenance of healthy weight, there has been an estimated 16,640 new cases of esophageal cancer reported in the United States so far this year. Why are we finding more incidences of this type of cancer within our population?

The occurrence of esophageal cancers in the United States is strongly tied with obesity, a health condition that is increasing every year. Smoking and alcohol consumption also contribute to the risk of developing esophageal cancer. A critical factor in linking obesity and esophageal cancer is GERD (also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease). The most frequent symptom associated with GERD is heartburn; an uncomfortable burning sensation in the chest or throat caused by the leakage of acidic juices into the esophagus from the stomach. The esophagus is a narrow tube that carries foods and liquids to the stomach from the mouth. Over time GERD can damage the cells lining the esophagus, leading to inflammation; recurrent and persistent inflammation may influence the susceptibility to cancer by causing DNA damage.

Since obesity was a consistent factor across all the studies cited in the AICR policy report, it stands to reason that adopting or maintaining a lifestyle that consists of being physically active, consuming a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat, drinking alcohol moderately, quitting or never smoking at all, and getting regular physical examinations by your physician are key components in treating GERD and in the prevention of esophageal cancer.
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