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:

Website updates
Two new foundations added to "Additional Resources" page - Heartburn Cancer UK and Esophageal Cancer Education Foundation. Contact form also added.
Markov model indicates cost-effectiveness of Cytosponge-TFF3 screening
The Cytosponge-TFF3 tandem for non-endoscopic screening is one of several being developed or newly available to expand screening for Barrett's or early stage adenocarcinoma at lower cost and with less invasiveness and patient inconvenience. In this report from the BEST3 Consortium, Markov modeling was used to investigate cost effectiveness and quality-adjusted life-years in a randomized clinical trial. They found an ICER of £5,500 (a relatively low amount), which might be even lower in a younger population.
Modeling study suggests potential for risk-stratified screening in China
By combining individual risk factor data from over 26,000 persons in high-risk areas of China, the authors estimate that focusing endoscopic screening on only those at high-risk can have substantial benefits in efficiency.
Review of prevention strategies for esophageal cancer
A nice review of prevention approaches to both esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. It includes a summary of surveillance methods and intervals recommended by four GI societies.
Blood type and ESCC risk
In the largest analysis of its kind, aggregating data from five studies in China, Dr. Chen and colleagues observed an approximately 30% higher risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma among those with blood type B and AB.
Esophageal cancer mortality trends in US
This report focuses on esophageal cancer mortality trends in the US from 1992-2016. Importantly, the dramatic decrease in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma among black males over the past several decades is highlighted and observed to be continuing. The authors attribute this decrease in part to reduced prevalence of heavy smoking. In addition, the recent leveling off of mortality for esophageal adenocarcinoma in white males was observed to continue.
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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