Esophageal Cancer on the Rise Among Middle-Aged Americans

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Esophageal Cancer
Courtesy of Geoff Livingston (Flickr CC0)

Esophageal cancer is a silent killer. It is on the rise among middle-aged Americans. Its rate doubled among individuals aged 45 to 64, and the prevalence of a precancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagus rose by 50% between 2012 and 2019.

The esophagus carries the liquid and food from the throat to your stomach. According to the study by Dr. Bashar Qumseya, chief of endoscopy and associate professor of medicine at the University of Florida, the exact reason for the uptick of esophageal cancer is the soaring rates of an unhealthy diet, obesity, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or chronic heartburn.

Chronic heartburn leads to Barrett’s esophagus, marked by abnormal changes in the cells lining the esophagus.

This increase in rates of esophageal cancer in younger patients mirrors the colon cancer rate.

Esophageal Cancer
Courtesy of Saltanat ebli (Wilimedia CC0)

Doctors typically recommend screening colon cancer patients at 50, but due to the compelling evidence seen in younger people, the screening now starts at 45. The screening may be the same with esophageal patients with other risk factors like smoking and alcohol use.

Qumseya recommends endoscopy screening for colon cancer in individuals with reflux and other risk elements. This disease was dubbed a silent killer because the symptoms are noticeable when cancer has progressed.

The researchers peeked for esophageal cancer in 5 million people in Florida by tapping into the electronic health archives.

Cancer rates plateaued among the oldest group, and the climb in middle-aged adults is not because of assertive screening. Qumseya and his associates planned to discern squamous cell carcinoma and esophageal adenocarcinoma data to determine risk elements and possible rationales.

It is disturbing to cite that cancer, considered an elderly disease, is becoming a lifestyle-dependent ailment impacting the younger generation.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas

Sources:

News Max:  Esophageal Cancer Nearly Doubled Among Middle-Aged Americans
Healthy Day: Alarming Increase in Esophageal Cancer in Middle-Aged Americans, Study Finds
KPVI: Big Rise in Esophageal Cancers Among Middle-Aged Americans; by Denise Mann

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Geoff Livingston’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image by Saltanat ebli Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License

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