April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month
Exposures to these toxic dusts and fumes are encouraged to take precautions to protect themselves.
Treatments for esophageal cancer range from surgery to immunotherapy. Surgery removes some or most of the esophagus, as well as a small part of the stomach in some cases. The parts that are removed are replaced by part of the stomach being pulled up into the chest or neck, resulting in the new esophagus. Radiation therapy may be used as a treatment option for people who can’t have or don’t want surgery. It is also used before surgery to try to make the cancer smaller and after surgery to eliminate areas of cancer cells that may have been undetected. Chemotherapy is another way to treat cancer of the esophagus, which is usually paired with radiation therapy to maximize the chance of eliminating the cancer altogether. Finally, immunotherapy in some cases utilizes medicines that help the body’s immune system kill cancer cells while leaving normal cells alone.
Overall, it is best to take care of yourself to avoid the risk of developing any type of cancer. Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption are ways to reduce the risk of developing cancer. Being aware of exposures in the railroad workplace to things like solvents, asbestos, and diesel fumes is also an important way to minimize the risk of getting esophageal cancer, as well as cancer of the lung, larynx, colon, kidney, and stomach. It is imperative to take precautions to limit the amount of exposure you receive in your railroad occupation, especially if you are a conductor, engineer, car inspector, welder, track worker, machine operator, machinist, electrician, laborer, or signal worker. Finally, getting to the doctor regularly and keeping your doctor informed of your workplace exposures can help find cancer in its early stages, giving you the best chance of survival if you are faced with a cancer diagnosis.