Welcome to ESOCAN

An educational resource dedicated to the
prevention and control of esophageal cancer.

Each year over 600,000 people in the world are diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Unfortunately most do not survive more than a year, making it the sixth most common cause of cancer-related death. Much is known about the risk and protective factors for this cancer, providing opportunities for prevention through

  • avoiding causative exposures,
  • engaging in healthy activities,
  • chemoprevention, and
  • screening for precancerous conditions (in some cases)

Cancer-related mortality worldwide - 2020

Of the almost 10 million cancer-related deaths that occurred in the world during 2020,
5.5% were attributable to esophageal cancer. (Cancer Today)


The purpose of this website is to promote awareness of esophageal cancer, summarize its epidemiology (see background and risk and preventive factors) and demonstrate how this information can be used for personalized cancer prevention. See "Learn More" below and menu tab.

New research findings relevant to esophageal cancer causes and prevention will be highlighted from time to time in the blog. If you would like updates delivered to your inbox (1 - 2 per month), sign up for the newsletter.

Most esophageal cancers worldwide are classified as squamous cell carcinomas. In the early 1970s, however, a previously unusual histologic type - adenocarcinoma - began a rapid rise in incidence that continued for over four decades to become the dominant type of esophageal cancer in the West. The BEACON consortium tab summarizes findings from this epidemiologic research consortium which was founded in 2005 to study underlying reasons for the increase and identify potential preventive measures. Additional information resources related to esophageal cancer prevention, treatment and patient support can be found in a menu tab as well.

Learn more

Diagram of esophagus


describes the basic epidemiology of esophageal cancer

Diagram of risk factors and pathways

Risk Factors

summarizes what is known about possible causes of esophageal cancer and opportunities for prevention

Screenshot of risk calculator

What's Your Risk?

introduces the IC-RISC™risk calculator which estimates an individual’s risk of developing esophageal adenenocarcinoma

Fred Hutch Cancer CenterSign up for newsletter

Recent News:

Women with BE progress about half as often as men
This meta-analysis reinforces previous observations that women with Barrett's progress to HGD or EAC at about half the rate as men.
Limitations of current Barrett's screening criteria
The urgent need to include additional predictors (risk and protective factors) in identifying high-risk persons for BE and EAC screening is becoming more and more clear. Here, using two cohorts from the US and UK, the authors again observe that 39% of EAC cases did not report heartburn - a required component of screening eligibility. Several risk prediction algorithms have already been proposed to address this problem; they need to be evaluated in prospective studies.
Hormone therapy and esophageal adenocarcinoma
Drs. Xie and colleagues observed a decreased risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma among women taking post-menopausal hormones in this population-based cohort study in Sweden with 693 EAC cases. This supports the concept that female sex hormones contribute to the lower incidence of EAC in women.
This website contains a curated and opinionated look at recent literature regarding the epidemiology and prevention of esophageal cancer, with an emphasis on esophageal adenocarcinoma. It is developed by Thomas L Vaughan MD, MPH ©2021
This website should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This site does not constitute the practice of any medical or other professional health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information on this website represent the views solely of Dr. Vaughan.
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