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Mortality Rate from Esophageal Cancer Soars

Update Date: Jan 06, 2014 03:44 PM EST

According to a new statistics provided by Cancer Research UK, deaths from esophageal cancer has soared over the past four decades. The new numbers reveal that esophageal cancer, which is cancer of the food pipe, medically known as the esophagus, caused roughly 50 percent more deaths. The alarming new data suggest that more needs to be done to prevent and treat this type of cancer.

The report found that today, roughly 13 out of every 100,000 people in the UK, which totals to around 7,600 people, die from esophageal cancer every year. This rate is nearly 50 percent higher than the rate in 1971 when eight in every 100,000 people died from esophageal cancer. For men in particular, the rate increased by 65 percent where as the rate only increased by nine percent for women.

"These figures are a clear reminder that we've still a long way to go with esophageal cancer. We must do more to diagnose the disease as early as possible. As a surgeon, I see many patients walk through my door who have not recognized or ignored the symptoms that might be esophageal cancer for too long, and they only seek help when food starts to get stuck when they swallow. So by the time I see them it's too late for treatment that could cure them," Tim Underwood, esophageal surgeon and research at the Cancer Research UK's ICGC (International Cancer Genome Consortium) project at the University of Southampton said.

The researchers stated that a spike in esophageal cancer could be attributed to poor lifestyle choices, such as smoking, drinking and obesity. One of the most important factors that people should look out for is heartburn, also called acid reflux. The researchers stressed the importance of seeking medical help before it becomes too late to treat.

"People should be aware that persistent heartburn is not normal. If this is happening to you, you need to see your GP. The vast majority of people won't have anything seriously wrong with them, but it's important to get it checked out," Underwood added according to Medical Xpress.

According to information provided by the study, esophageal cancer is number four on the list of cancer-related deaths in men. Roughly six percent, or 5,100, male deaths related to cancer are due to cancer of the esophagus. Despite the increase in mortality rates for both men and women, the researchers noted that over the past few years, the numbers appear to be stabilizing.

The report can be found here.

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