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Monday, March 23, 2009

New news about esophageal cancer

In recent weeks, there have been a few developments in the fight against cancer of the esophagus.

Esophageal cancer in general is among the fastest growing forms of the disease. And a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, first reported in The New York Times, indicates even a small amount of alcohol -- a glass of wine or half bottle of beer -- could increase the chance of developing squamous cell esophageal cancer. This is even more so if the patient is of Asian ancestry.

Squamous cell cancer is most often at the upper end of the esophagus, while the type of cancer I had, adenocarcinoma, generally affects the lower end of the esophagus near the stomach. Squamous cell carcinoma also can be caused by smoking, or in combination with drinking.

Here's a link to the New York Times article. 

The other development was the death earlier this month of the actor Ron Silver. Silver had been in a two-year battle with esophageal cancer. He died Sunday, March 15.

His death opened my eyes to the fact that even though I feel pretty good now, I'm not out of the woods 18 months after my initial diagnosis.

I'll continue to update on a more regular basis.

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