Esophageal Cancer (Cancer of the Esophagus)

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

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What are the statistics related to esophageal cancer?

According to the National Cancer Institute, there will be almost 17,000 new cases of esophageal cancer in the United States in 2015. Approximately 16,000 people will die of the disease.

In the 1970s, more than 90% of esophageal cancers were of the squamous cell type. Now, almost 70% are adenocarcinoma.

It occurs more frequently as people age and is more commonly diagnosed in male patients, aged 60 to 70. Esophageal cancer affects males more than females, almost 4 to 1. It is 20 times more common to be found in patients older than age 65 than in those who are younger.

What support is available for those with esophageal cancer?

Patients, families, and friends are all affected when the diagnosis of cancer is made. Most hospitals and treatment facilities will have support systems available to help with the difficult journey ahead.

The treating professionals will be important resources to relay understanding of the disease, the potential treatment options, and the expected outcomes. It is important for all who are involved to be advocates for the patient; much of the information can be overwhelming. It is reasonable to ask questions of the doctors, nurses, and other care providers.

There are many community resources available as well. The American Cancer Society is a good place to begin, contacting the organization at a local office or online.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/30/2016

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