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How to reduce your risk of esophageal cancer

A type of esophageal cancer called adenocarcinoma is on the rise in the United States largely because of the obesity epidemic. People who are overweight may develop reflux, which can damage the esophagus and lead to cancer.

Trouble swallowing is the most common symptom of esophageal cancer, and about half of all patients lose weight without trying. Some people may develop pain or discomfort in the middle of their chest.

Other symptoms can include hoarseness, chronic cough, vomiting, hiccups, pneumonia and bone pain.

Not all esophageal cancers can be prevented, but the American Cancer Society says you can reduce your risk by:

  • avoiding tobacco and alcohol,

  • eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits,

  • maintaining a healthy weight, and

  • seeking treatment for reflux.

 Hear an interview about esophageal cancer with Vanessa Gibson, MD