April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month (periwinkle colored cancer ribbons), so now is a good time to learn some of the causes, risk factors and prevention tips for one of the rare types of cancer that killed Humphrey Bogart.
Bogart happens to be one of several classic film stars who died of cancer from heavy drinking and cigarette smoking. Many cases of mouth and throat cancers, as well as esophageal cancer, during that time period were related to excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.
These days, more people are developing esophageal cancer from obesity and digestive disease such as acid reflux. Overall, rates for this rare type of cancer in the U.S. have remained fairly steady. It used to be more common in African Americans – now, it’s slightly more common in whites.
According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 18,000 new cases of esophageal cancer were diagnosed last year, and more than 15,000 of those patients died. Men are 3 to 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease than women – about 1 in every 435 women gets esophageal cancer, as opposed to 1 in 125 men.
Also, you are more likely to be diagnosed with esophageal cancer if you’re a male between the ages of 45 and 70.
What causes esophageal cancer?
Generally speaking, esophageal cancer develops after some type of chronic irritation to your esophagus (pictured).
Some of the common esophageal cancer causes and risk factors include:
How can I prevent esophageal cancer?
Here are five cancer prevention tips to avoid this disease (and other esophageal conditions).
To learn more about this disease and other types of cancer, click here.
Talk to us in the comments! Do you have problems with acid reflux, indigestion or heartburn? What are you doing to stay healthy and prevent this disease during Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month? Please share your stories!