Causes of Esophageal Cancer

Although the causes of esophageal cancer aren’t completely understood, researchers do know that certain factors can place someone at an elevated risk for developing the condition. These factors may include things like a history of gastroesophageal reflux disease, bile reflux, Barrett’s esophagus and other conditions. 

Most of these conditions involve chronic irritation of the esophagus. Researchers believe this chronic irritation could ultimately cause esophageal cancer because:

  • It can eventually cause genetic mutations in the esophageal cells
  • The genetic mutations can change the way that the esophageal cells normally grow, making them divide and multiply at a much faster rate than normal
  • The rapidly growing cells can eventually form a cancerous tumor, which will steadily grow as more cells accumulate in the mass
  • The cancerous cells can eventually invade other nearby structures, such as the lymph nodes, blood vessels in the chest and other organs such as the lungs, liver or stomach

However, this is just one hypothesis. Additionally, genetics are not currently thought to play a role in the development of esophageal cancer.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, we’re proud to be at the forefront of esophageal cancer research. Our team is constantly striving to learn more about how esophageal cancer develops, and how we can help our patients find the best possible treatment plan. We’ve even earned the distinction of being named a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.

To learn more about the various causes of esophageal cancer or to request an appointment with our experienced esophageal cancer team, contact us today. No referral is required – simply call 1-888-MOFFITT or submit a new patient registration form.