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Chin J Cancer. 2012 Jun;31(6):281-6. doi: 10.5732/cjc.011.10390. Epub 2012 Apr 13.

Epidemiologic differences in esophageal cancer between Asian and Western populations.

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Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing, Jiangsu 210029, PR China.


Esophageal cancer is a common cancer worldwide and has a poor prognosis. The incidence of esophageal squamous cell cancer has been decreasing, whereas the incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma has been increasing rapidly, particularly in Western men. Squamous cell cancer continues to be the major type of esophageal cancer in Asia, and the main risk factors include tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, hot beverage drinking, and poor nutrition. In contrast, esophageal adenocarcinoma predominately affects the whites, and the risk factors include smoking, obesity, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. In addition, Asians and Caucasians may have different susceptibilities to esophageal cancer due to different heritage backgrounds. However, comparison studies between these two populations are limited and need to be addressed in the near future. Ethnic differences should be taken into account in preventive and clinical practices.

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