Lost in the clutter, a new study based on diagnostic records for Floridians has identified a massive increase in both esophageal cancer and Barrett’s Syndrome, the precursor to esophageal cancer, between 2012 and 2019. The increase is among middle aged Americans, defined as between 45 and 64 years of age.
- The number of cases diagnosed with esophageal cancer increased by 91% in that time period. In hard numbers, per 100,000 people, cases rose from 49 to 94.
- Diagnoses of Barrett’s rose in the same time frame by 35%, from 304 to 466 per 100,000.(1)
This matters because the 5-year survival rate for esophageal cancer isn’t good. Further, by the time a person realizes that their might be a problem in their esophagus, usually from difficultly swallowing, the cancer will be at an advanced stage.
The five year survival rates for this cancer, compared to a person without this cancer, are
- For localized cancer, 46%
- For a cancer that has spread to nearby areas of the body, 26%
- For a cancer that has spread to distant parts of the body, 5%(2)
Bluntly, with this cancer, you would be advised to have your funeral arrangements in place.
The only way to achieve an early warning with this cancer and substantially improve the odds of living is with an endoscopic study of the esophagus. Unfortunately, most patients in the Florida study had not had one.
Arguably, if you are going to neglect taking care of yourself, you owe it to your loved ones to protect them when you exit. One way or another, you will exit, and neglect will probably make that sooner rather than later.