April marks the start of Esophageal Cancer Awareness month. The mission behind this time is to express to the communities of Central Florida and beyond the importance of being mindful of this disease. This cancer begins in the inner lining of the esophagus and spreads outward through the other layers as it develops. The two most common types of Esophageal Cancer are Squamous Cell carcinoma, and Adenocarcinoma. The first type is often found in the upper and middle section of the throat. However, the latter usually forms in the lower esophagus, close to the stomach. According to the ECAA, "there isn't a known, single cause of esophageal cancer."
Now in terms of risk factors, the following should be taken into consideration: Do you suffer from constant episodes of acid reflux? Were you ever diagnosed with Hiatus hernia?? Is this is a long-term issue you and other members of your family have been diagnosed with??? If this is your case, then consider getting screened by a qualified Gastroenterologist, as a defensive measure for your health. Acid reflux if left untreated can cause GERD (gastric-esophageal reflux disease). This advanced form of acid reflux can increase the risk of a patient acquiring a condition called Barrett's esophagus. If this occurs, the lining of the cells along the esophagus are structurally altered. Generally, this condition alone does not affect a person's health. However, in a small percentage of cases, there is a chance that the altered cells in someone with Barrett's esophagus can develop into pre-cancerous cells and overtime into an invasive carcinoma or cancer.
There are other symptoms that are often experienced as a result of esophageal cancer: