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Esophageal Cancer: Introduction

Esophageal cancer is cancer that forms in the esophagus, the muscular tube where food moves from the throat to the stomach. The two major subtypes of Esophageal Cancers (EC) are:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which begins in the cell lining, and
  • Adenocarcinoma (EAC), which begins in the cells that make mucus and other fluids.

Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for the majority of esophagus cancer worldwide but esophageal adenocarcinoma has increased in frequency in the United States and is now close in frequency to SCC.

Esophageal cancer is more common in men over 50 years old. Squamous cell cancer is most often associated with smoking and alcohol consumption and the rate of occurence in the United States has remained almost the same. Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus is not as clearly associated with smoking or alcohol. The incidence of adenocarcinoma has dramatically increased in recent years, especially in young males.

More information is available on the American Cancer Society website.