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Cervical Esophageal Cancer

Causes of Cervical Esophageal Cancer

As with most cancers, doctors can’t tell you with certainty what causes cervical esophageal cancer. It’s a combination of genetic factors and factors in your environment.

By far the most common factor contributing to cervical esophageal cancer is using tobacco, particularly smoking it. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol also contributes to the risk of developing cancer of the cervical esophagus.

  • Tobacco: Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes and using chewing tobacco greatly increase your chance of getting cervical esophageal cancer.2 Moore C. Smoking and cancer of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx. JAMA: the journal of the American Medical Association. Jan 25 1965;191(4):283-286.
  • Alcohol: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol is also very strongly related to getting cervical esophageal cancer. Moreover, if you both smoke and drink heavily, the risk more than doubles.3 Pelucchi C, Gallus S, Garavello W, Bosetti C, La Vecchia C. Cancer risk associated with alcohol and tobacco use: focus on upper aero-digestive tract and liver. Alcohol research & health: the journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. 2006;29(3):193-198.

Other factors that can increase your chance of getting cervical esophageal cancer include:

  • Exposure to radiation in the past: Being exposed to radiation as part of a natural disaster, treatment for another disease a long time ago or even through work can increase the chances of some cancers of the esophagus.4 Little MP. Cancer after exposure to radiation in the course of treatment for benign and malignant disease. The lancet oncology. Apr 2001;2(4):212-220.
  • Plummer-Vinson Syndrome: This is a very rare disease seen in nonsmoking women between 30 and 50 years old. It is called a syndrome because it includes a pattern of symptoms, including difficulty with swallowing, a web of tissue that can partially block off the hypopharynx or cervical esophagus and low iron counts leading to low blood counts, along with weight loss. People with this syndrome are at an increased risk of developing cervical esophageal cancer.5Referenced with permission from The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for Esophageal and Esophagogastric Junction Cancers V.2.2016. ©National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc 2016. All rights reserved. Accessed December 7, 2016. To view the most recent and complete version of the guideline, go online to www.nccn.org.

Other factors that can increase the risk of developing cancer of the cervical esophagus include:

  • Drinking hot liquids or foods frequently
  • A history of drinking poisons such as lye
  • Certain viruses or bacteria
  • Certain diet factors such as nitrosamine or some vitamin deficiencies
  • Celiac disease
  • Genetic factors
References

1 Krause CJ, Carey TE, Ott RW, Hurbis C, McClatchey KD, Regezi JA. Human squamous cell carcinoma. Establishment and characterization of new permanent cell lines. Arch Otolaryngol. Nov 1981;107(11):703-710.

2 Moore C. Smoking and cancer of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx. JAMA: the journal of the American Medical Association. Jan 25 1965;191(4):283-286.

3 Pelucchi C, Gallus S, Garavello W, Bosetti C, La Vecchia C. Cancer risk associated with alcohol and tobacco use: focus on upper aero-digestive tract and liver. Alcohol research & health: the journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. 2006;29(3):193-198.

4 Little MP. Cancer after exposure to radiation in the course of treatment for benign and malignant disease. The lancet oncology. Apr 2001;2(4):212-220.

5 Referenced with permission from The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) for Esophageal and Esophagogastric Junction Cancers V.2.2016. ©National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc 2016. All rights reserved. Accessed December 7, 2016. To view the most recent and complete version of the guideline, go online to www.nccn.org.

6 Modlin IM, Shapiro MD, Kidd M. An analysis of rare carcinoid tumors: clarifying these clinical conundrums. World J Surg. 2005 Jan;29(1):92-101.

7 Vinik, A. I., Thompson, N., Eckhauser, F., & Moattari, A. R. (1989). Clinical features of carcinoid syndrome and the use of somatostatin analogue in its management. Acta Oncologica, 28(3), 389-402.

8 Mariette C, Balon J-M, Piessen G, Fabre S, Van Seuningen I, Triboulet J-P. Pattern of recurrence following complete resection of esophageal carcinoma and factors predictive of recurrent disease. Cancer. 2003;97:1616-1623.

9 Key C and Meisner ALW. Chapter 3: Cancer of the Esophagus, Stomach, and Small Intestine. Ries LAG, Young JL, Keel GE, Eisner MP, Lin YD, Horner M-J (editors). SEER Survival Monograph: Cancer Survival Among Adults: U.S. SEER Program, 1988-2001, Patient and Tumor Characteristics. National Cancer Institute, SEER Program, NIH Pub. No. 07-6215, Bethesda, MD, 2007.