Located behind your “windpipe” (trachea), the esophagus is a tube through which foods and liquid pass from the throat to the stomach. It is 10 – 13 inches long and, at its smallest point, less than an inch wide. Esophageal cancer is three times more common in men than in women. More than 17,000 cases of esophageal cancer are diagnosed each year in the United States, mostly in patients over the age of 65 years old.
The risk factors for esophageal cancer include smoking, heavy drinking, diets low in fruits and vegetables, obesity and acid reflux or patients with Barrett’s esophagus. Symptoms may include food getting caught in the throat, pain swallowing, heartburn or reflux and unexpected weight loss.