Prevention Is Always Better Than Cure

What Are The Risks And What Can I Do

While specific causes of specific cancers can be difficult to pinpoint, and Oesophageal Cancer can affect any adult at any life-stage, the following have been identified as key conditions, behaviours and lifestyles that may increase your risk of developing the disease:


Three times more men than women are affected by this type of cancer, though recently the proportion of women diagnosed in Ireland has risen.


The older you get, the higher the risk. This type of cancer is most prevalent among over 60s, and less common for under 45s. However, increasingly we’re seeing this cancer can occur outside these age brackets.


All types of smoking are harmful. Yet, in terms of Oesophageal Cancer, it’s more damaging to smoke cigarettes than a pipe or cigars.


Being overweight can significantly increase your risk of developing Oesophageal Cancer in its own right, and also because other factors like long-term reflux, heartburn and/or acid indigestion are more common in people who are overweight.

Diet and Hot Drinks

Eating lots of red meat and processed foods such as sausages, burgers and ham may increase your risk of developing this cancer.

A diet rich in fresh fruit and veg, potentially also supplemented with Vitamins A, C and riboflavin can help reduce the risk.

Some evidence also suggests that drinking very hot drinks may not be wise, as over time, they can damage the lining of your oesophagus.


A daily dose of movement, whether high-intensity or at a gentler pace, has multiple health benefits, of which cancer risk reduction is only one. Find out more here: Exercise And You


Long-term heavy drinkers have higher chances of developing this cancer.

Long-term Acid Reflux

Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid constantly flows back up into the oesophagus. As a long-term, persistent condition, it can damage the oesophagus and in a small number of sufferers, can lead to a pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s Oesophagus.

Other Medical Conditions

Achalasia is a condition where the muscle that controls the opening between the oesophagus and the stomach doesn’t relax properly. People with achalasia have a higher risk of developing Oesophageal Cancer.

Tylosis is a rare inherited skin condition and those affected are also at risk.

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