Researchers Warn Against an Unusual Rise of Esophageal Cancer in Middle Aged Adults

The study revealed that apart from Oesophageal cancer there was a 50% rise in Barrett's oesophagus observed in majority of the patients.

A new study from the researchers at the University of Florida has revealed that the prevalence of Esophageal cancer has doubled in the past decade and has put the middle-aged patients at a higher risk.

Almost 5 million patients were the focus of the study, presented at the Digestive Disease Week from 21 May to 24 May in San Diego. A cross-sectional analysis of electronic health record (EHR) data was conducted from the OneFlorida Clinical Data Research Network, covering nearly 40 percent of Florida residents, as per the researchers.

Later, records by three age categories, 18 to 44, 45 to 64, and over 65 were examined. This analysis revealed that patients falling under the 45 to 64 age criteria had a 'doubled prevalence' of Esophageal cancer, with a 50% rise in Barrett's Esophagus, a pre-cancerous disease, between 2012 and 2019.

Esophageal Cancer

Dr Bashar J. Qumseya, lead author of the study and associate professor of medicine and chief of endoscopy at the University of Florida, believes that this unusual prevalence is matter of grave concern and is a major health risk to middle aged adults.

The researchers also carried out an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) test, which examines the lining of the Esophagus, stomach and the beginning of the small intestine, in all the patients but could not find a specific reason contributing largely to the prevalence data, SciTech Daily reported.

Dr Qumseya suggests that middle-aged patients, especially those with multiple risk factors must go for early and regular medical check-ups for colorectal cancer. His analysis also points out that conducting a colonoscopy and endoscopy at the same time will help in the early detection of Barrett's esophagus and esophageal cancer.

Esophageal Cancer
Barrett's Esophagus endoscopic view Twitter

However, the study has a few limitations. The research was conducted on only the residents of Florida, and so it cannot represent the entire US population. There might be some issues with the data as the EHRs examined for the study, were only of the patients who sought medical advice.

This does not include any prior information of the individual, whether they were suffering from the disease at the time of the visit or had recovered from it.

With an aim to overcome these limitations the researchers have unveiled their plans to deeply analyze the database once again and attempt to differentiate between the two types of esophageal cancer. The final results of these might be released the next six months.