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Get the Facts on Esophageal Cancer

Esophagys.JPGUnlike many of the cancers you hear about today, esophageal cancer isn’t one of the most talked about or most common cancers in the country. It accounts for only four percent of all cancers in the United States. But it is one of the deadliest. Of the 15,000 cases that are diagnosed annually, there are close to 14,000 deaths.

“Esophageal cancer is often not diagnosed until the tumor has reached the point where it’s large enough to cause symptoms,” explains Alicia McKelvey, MD, thoracic surgeon with Main Line Health Care. “Unfortunately, many patients are often in an advanced stage of the disease by the time they experience these symptoms.”

There are two main types of esophageal cancer—squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma, which has been associated with tobacco and alcohol use, had previously been the dominant form of esophageal cancer. However, in recent years, cases of adenocarcinoma have increased.  It is thought this increase may be due in part to the increased incidence of  chronic acid reflux from obesity.

Unlike some other cancers, esophageal cancer screenings, called endoscopies, aren’t conducted on a regular basis. But if you have a family history of the disease or have been diagnosed with a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, your doctor may decide to perform an endoscopy. Barrett’s esophagus is a precancerous condition that results from chronic acid reflux, and  increases your risk of esophageal cancer. Anyone with Barrett’s esophagus should undergo routine endoscopic tests.

If risk factors like these don’t apply to you, there are still steps you can take to lower your risk for esophageal cancer, including:
  • Quitting smoking
  • Refraining from tobacco use
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Maintaining a healthy diet with many fruits and vegetables
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
Taking these steps can reduce your risk for esophageal cancer and other health problems.

Fortunately, treatment is available for those who are diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Together with our GI specialists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists, Main Line Health Thoracic Surgery is proud to offer the latest treatment options for patients with esophageal disease and cancer. For more information, visit our website.
 
Posted by Main Line Health on 5/3/2013 1:17:38 PM
Read more articles about: Cancer, MLH_Thoracic, Alicia_McKelvey_MD

Get the Facts on Esophageal Cancer

Esophagys.JPGUnlike many of the cancers you hear about today, esophageal cancer isn’t one of the most talked about or most common cancers in the country. It accounts for only four percent of all cancers in the United States. But it is one of the deadliest. Of the 15,000 cases that are diagnosed annually, there are close to 14,000 deaths.

“Esophageal cancer is often not diagnosed until the tumor has reached the point where it’s large enough to cause symptoms,” explains Alicia McKelvey, MD, thoracic surgeon with Main Line Health Care. “Unfortunately, many patients are often in an advanced stage of the disease by the time they experience these symptoms.”

There are two main types of esophageal cancer—squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma, which has been associated with tobacco and alcohol use, had previously been the dominant form of esophageal cancer. However, in recent years, cases of adenocarcinoma have increased.  It is thought this increase may be due in part to the increased incidence of  chronic acid reflux from obesity.

Unlike some other cancers, esophageal cancer screenings, called endoscopies, aren’t conducted on a regular basis. But if you have a family history of the disease or have been diagnosed with a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, your doctor may decide to perform an endoscopy. Barrett’s esophagus is a precancerous condition that results from chronic acid reflux, and  increases your risk of esophageal cancer. Anyone with Barrett’s esophagus should undergo routine endoscopic tests.

If risk factors like these don’t apply to you, there are still steps you can take to lower your risk for esophageal cancer, including:
  • Quitting smoking
  • Refraining from tobacco use
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Maintaining a healthy diet with many fruits and vegetables
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
Taking these steps can reduce your risk for esophageal cancer and other health problems.

Fortunately, treatment is available for those who are diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Together with our GI specialists, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists, Main Line Health Thoracic Surgery is proud to offer the latest treatment options for patients with esophageal disease and cancer. For more information, visit our website.
 
Posted by Main Line Health on 5/3/2013 1:17:38 PM
Read more articles about: Cancer, MLH_Thoracic, Alicia_McKelvey_MD
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