GIS Q&A - Dr. Sathya Jaganmohan: What are the risk factors for esophageal cancer?

The risk factors for esophageal cancer are numerous. Excessive body weight, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and excessive use of caffeinated products all increase the risk of reflux and subsequently increase the risk of esophageal cancer. Many of these are modifiable including the diet we consume; increasing activity, which will help reduce weight; reducing the amount of alcohol; and reducing the amount of caffeinated products. This can all reduce reflux and reduce the risk of esophageal cancer. Another important risk of esophageal cancer is family history of esophageal disease, Barrett’s, or esophageal cancer. If a family member such as a parent has an esophageal cancer, your risk of esophageal cancer also increases. You should consult with your gastroenterologist to get evaluated for precancerous changes that may exist in your esophagus.