A small number of esophageal cancers are linked to genes passed through families. But most esophageal cancers aren’t linked to a family history and don’t have a known cause.
Most people who develop esophageal cancer don’t have a family history of this condition. A small number of people inherit genes from their parents that increase their risk of developing esophageal cancer.
For example, inherited mutations in the RHBDF2 or BLM genes have been linked to squamous cell carcinoma. A family history of a condition called Barrett esophagus is linked to an increased risk of adenocarcinoma.
In this article, we take a deeper look at hereditary genes that increase the risk of esophageal cancer.
In this article, we use “male” to refer to someone’s sex as determined by their chromosomes.
Sex is determined by chromosomes, and gender is a social construct that can vary between time periods and cultures. Both of these aspects are acknowledged to exist on a spectrum both historically and by modern scientific consensus.
Esophageal cancer occurs when gene mutations inside esophageal cells cause them to replicate uncontrollably. Genetic mutations can be inherited from your parents or acquired throughout your life. Researchers still
Most people who develop esophageal cancer don’t have a family history, but researchers have identified some genes passed through families linked to an increased risk. These changes are seen in a
Esophageal adenocarcinoma that’s linked to a family history tends to develop at a
Tylosis with esophageal cancer
Tylosis with esophageal cancer, also called Howel-Evans syndrome, is caused by a genetic mutation in your RHBDF2 gene. It can develop if you inherit the mutation from one parent.
People with Howel-Evans syndrome have a higher risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus. The odds of developing squamous cell carcinoma by age 70 in people with the gene mutation are
Fewer than 1,000 people in the United States are thought to have Howel-Evans syndrome.
Most people with Bloom syndrome inherit the abnormal gene from
Fanconi anemia is caused by mutations in some FANC genes that increase your risk of:
- squamous cell esophageal cancer
- progressive bone marrow failure
It only develops if you inherit a mutated gene from both parents.
Fanconi anemia affects about
Familial Barrett esophagus
Familial Barrett esophagus is a cluster of cases of Barrett esophagus within a family. Barrett esophagus occurs when cells in your esophagus change over time. It often occurs in people with chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and can develop into esophageal adenocarcinoma.
The exact genes linked to familial Barretts esophagus aren’t clear. Genes under investigation include the MSX1, CTFR, and VSIG10L genes.
A family history of Barrett esophagus or esophageal adenocarcinoma is a
- full sibling
The risk of getting adenocarcinoma is at least
Other risk factors for esophageal cancer include:
Esophageal cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms in the early stages. According to the
- chest pain
- pain swallowing
- weight loss
- chronic cough
- bleeding into your esophagus
- bone pain
Esophageal cancer often isn’t diagnosed until the cancer is advanced. It’s important to see a doctor if you develop symptoms of esophageal cancer without a known cause.
Most esophageal cancers aren’t linked to a family history. A small number of people receive genes from their parents that can greatly increase their risk of developing esophageal cancer.
Doctors don’t know what causes esophageal cancer in most cases. Avoiding tobacco and alcohol as well as eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables may help you lower your chances of developing esophageal cancer.