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What foods should you avoid to reduce the risk of esophageal cancer?

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Quick Answer

To avoid the risk of esophageal cancer, patients are advised not to consume heavy amounts of alcohol, according to the National Cancer Institute. Other dietary risk factors include not eating enough fruits and vegetables, according to EverydayHealth.

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Full Answer

A healthy diet of at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day is most beneficial in reducing esophageal cancer risk, explain experts at Everyday Health. Wholegrain foods are also helpful, as is reducing consumption of red and processed meat. Alcohol intake should be limited to no more than one drink per day in woman and two drinks daily for men, as higher levels significantly increase risk.

According to Everyday Health, obesity is another major risk factor for the disease; a diet that helps to maintain a healthy weight coupled with a regular exercise is most effective in preventing obesity.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease, tobacco use, older age and Barrett esophagus -a condition where cells in the lower part of the esophagus are changed or replaced with abnormal cells- are other risk factors for the cancer, according to the National Institute of Health. Males and African-Americans tend to be affected more than other patients, explains the Institute.

Symptoms of esophageal cancer include painful or difficult swallowing, weight loss, pain behind the breastbone, hoarseness and cough and indigestion and heartburn.

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