Prevention There is not a sure way to prevent esophageal cancer, but you can lower certain risk factors, decreasing your chance of developing cancer of the esophagus. Among the controllable risk factors are tobacco and alcohol consumption. If you smoke, STOP. And limit the number of alcoholic beverages you consume on a regular basis.
Diet and weight are also controllable risk factors. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help lower your risk for developing esophageal cancer. Maintaining a good diet and regular exercise plan may also help lower your risk by preventing obesity - a known risk factor for esophageal cancer.
Additionally, if you have conditions including chronic heartburn (or GERD
) or Barrett's esophagus, it's important that you work with your doctor to treat your symptoms and monitor any cell changes that may occur as a result.
Early Detection As with other types of cancer, early detection of esophageal cancer is critical to ensuring a positive treatment outcome. The challenge is that often symptoms of esophageal cancer do not appear until the cancer is more advanced.
If you are at a higher risk for developing cancer of the esophagus as a result of GERD or Barrett's esophagus, it is important that you and your doctor watch closely for signs that could indicate a change in the cells lining your esophagus. Monitoring the condition of these cells may help identify suspicious cells that could lead to esophageal cancer and, if necessary, allow early treatment of those symptoms.