HEALTH ALERT!  For the safety of our patients and staff, effective March 30, 2020, new patients and patients with disabilities will be permitted one visitor over the age of 15. No other visitors will be permitted into the clinic.  Family members and caretakers may participate in the appointments remotely by phone or video conference if desired. Compass is working with other health care providers in the area to help contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus. We are taking active steps to minimize your exposure to the virus. These steps include screening everyone who enters the clinic for signs of illness, banning most visitors in the clinic, minimizing our own staffing and allowing some employees to work from home, and frequent sanitation of the clinic. We are using personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns, gloves, and face-shields according to national guidelines. We are working to identify those patients whose visits or treatments can be safely delayed, and we will notify you of this if you have an upcoming visit.  We ask that you stay home if you have fever and/or cough.

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Causes, Risk Factors, and Prevention of Esophageal Cancer

There is no clear indicator as to what causes esophageal cancer. Esophageal cancer occurs when cells in your esophagus develop errors, known as mutations, in their DNA. These mutations make cells grow and divide out of control. These abnormal cells accumulate, forming a tumor in the esophagus that can grow to invade nearby areas of the body such as the aorta or spine. They can also metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body that may not be near the esophagus, such as the liver or lungs. 

Esophageal Cancer Risk Factors

While the cause of esophageal cancer is uncertain, there are various factors that can increase your risk of developing the disease. These risk factors can include: 

  • Tobacco use
  • Having precancerous changes in the cells of the esophagus (Barrett’s esophagus)
  • Obesity 
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Excessive drinking of very hot liquids
  • Having acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Having difficulty swallowing due to achalasia, a condition where an esophageal sphincter won’t relax.
  • Undergoing radiation treatment to the chest or upper abdomen. 
  • Gender. Males are three times more likely to develop esophageal cancer compared to women. 

Preventing or Reducing Your Risk of Esophageal Cancer

To reduce your risk of developing esophageal cancer: 

  • Quit smoking
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption
  • Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in your diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight