Avoiding heavy alcohol consumption and tobacco use may help prevent squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus. In developed countries, these factors contribute to as many as 90 percent of cases.

Patients with frequent heartburn should undergo regular endoscopic screening to detect precancerous changes in the lining of the esophagus, which are the primary risk factor for adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. Dietary and lifestyle changes and medication may help prevent progression of Barrett's esophagus.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 14 Aug 1999

Last Modified: 14 Sep 2015