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Esophageal Cancer: Facts and Figures

December 18, 2011
By

British journalist and author Christopher Hitchens died Thursday at 62 from complications of esophageal cancer. The well-known contributing editor of Vanity Fair magazine had been diagnosed in June 2010. Here are some key facts and figures about esophageal cancer.

* Men develop esophageal cancer four times more frequently than women and also have a higher mortality than women.

* Esophageal cancer ranks seventh as the cause of cancer deaths among men.

* This year in the United States, approximately 17,000 adults will receive a new diagnosis of esophageal cancer.

* Approximately 15,000 deaths will be attributed to esophageal cancer this year.

* The lifetime risk of esophageal cancer in the United States is estimated to be 1 in 125 for men and 1 in 400 for women.

* Symptoms include difficulty swallowing, chest pain, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, choking while eating, indigestion, vomiting, persistent hiccups and hoarseness. Symptoms frequently do not appear in the early stages of esophageal cancer.

* The most common age for esophageal cancer to occur is between 45 and 70.

* Risk factors include drinking alcohol, chewing tobacco, obesity, drinking extremely hot liquids, bile reflux, GERD, smoking, Barrett’s esophagus, radiation to the upper abdomen or chest, eating foods preserved in lye and eating too few fruits and vegetables.

* Endoscopy and barium swallow are usually done to make a diagnosis of esophageal cancer.

* Since symptoms do not usually occur until the later stages, treatment options carry a poor survival rate.

* Treatment may involve surgery and almost always involves chemotherapy and radiation combined.

* In the U.S., the five-year survival rate is 17 percent, excluding patients who die from other causes. For anyone with early stage esophageal cancer, the survival rates are higher.

* Esophageal cancer is much more prevalent in countries other than the U.S. For example in places such as northern China, India, Iran and southern Africa the rates are 10 to 100 times higher,

* Two types of esophageal cancer are the most common and are named after the cells at their point of origin. These include adenocarcinoma, which begins in the lower part of the esophagus and is the most common in western societies, and is caused most often by reflux and Barrett’s esophagus. The second type is squamous cell carcinoma, which begins in the lining of the middle and upper esophagus. This type is most often caused by smoking and alcohol use and is the most common worldwide.

* Squamous cell carcinoma occurs three times more often in blacks than whites, while adenocarcinoma is most prevalent in white males.

Margie Miklas is a critical-care nurse with more than 30 years’ experience. She currently works in South Florida in a cardiovascular ICU with a specialty certification in cardiac surgery.

Article source: http://news.yahoo.com/esophageal-cancer-facts-figures-211300558.html

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