Risk Factors/Signs and Symptoms

Research is increasing regarding what we know about esophageal cancer. Scientists are learning more about its causes. Following are common risk factors for the disease:

Tobacco and heavy alcohol use

Barrett Esophagus (A condition in which the cells lining the lower part of the esophagus have changed or been replaced with abnormal cells that could lead to cancer of the esophagus. Gastric reflux may irritate the esophagus and cause Barrett esophagus.)

Older Age

Being Male

Being African-American

Signs and Symptoms

The most common signs of esophageal cancer are painful or difficult swallowing and weight loss.

These and other symptoms may be caused by esophageal cancer or by other conditions. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:

Painful or difficult swallowing

Weight loss

Pain behind the breastbone

Hoarseness and cough

Indigestion and heartburn

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