The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity established to raise awareness, encourage early detection and to fund research of esophageal cancer in hopes of a cure.  

Esophageal cancer (adenocarinoma) is the fastest growing cancer in the United States, according to The National Cancer Institute.  

With over a 600% increase in the past decades, esophageal cancer is also one of the deadliest cancers.  The overall 5-year survival rate for esophageal cancer is 17.5%.  Symptoms such as difficulty swallowing do not typically appear in the early stages of the cancer.  

Unfortunately, symptoms often appear once the cancer has spread and becomes advanced.  When esophageal cancer is diagnosed in late stages, it is very difficult to treat the cancer and there is rarely a cure.  Patients who are diagnosed with Stage IV esophageal cancer face a five-year survival rate of only 3.8%.  

Many are unaware that chronic heartburn can increase the risk of esophageal cancer.   Heartburn that occurs more than twice a week may be an indicator of GERD.   This is a disease of the digestive system which is the most common upper GI disorder.  GERD stands for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.  Also known as acid reflux disease, GERD is a primary risk factor of esophageal cancer.  

GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is weakened or damaged.  “The function of the LES is to act as a gatekeeper, opening to allow food to pass into the stomach and then closing to prevent the contents of the stomach (food, acid and other secretions) from back flowing or refluxing into the esophagus,” Bruce Kaechele, founder of RefluxMD states.

Some lifestyle changes can help to manage GERD symptoms, including avoid eating at least three hours before bed, stay upright after meals, lose weight, moderate exercise and avoiding certain foods that trigger symptoms.  Surgery may be an option for some patients.  Kaechele warns that “GERD is a progressive disease and can worsen if not treated properly.”

Overtime, the backflow of acid damages the lining of the esophagus and can cause serious medical conditions, which include chronic cough or hoarseness, bleeding or scarring of the esophagus, ulcers or Barrett’s esophagus (which is an abnormal change in the lining of the esophagus that increases the risk of esophageal cancer).

Other risk factors include obesity, smoking, tobacco use, poor nutrition and excessive alcohol use.   There are no known causes of esophageal cancer just risk factors; the most common are listed above.

There are no standard or routine screenings to detect esophageal cancer in its earlier stages when there are more treatment options available.   Despite these facts, esophageal cancer research is critically underfunded.      

In fact, The National Cancer Institute decreased its investment in research of esophageal cancer by 15% in 2012.   In 2014, The American Cancer Society reports on their website that they currently fund 1,165 cancer research projects; however, only 8 of these projects are for esophageal cancer research.

Funding research projects which are aimed at improving current prevention techniques and diagnosis methods and treatment options is the key to saving lives and ultimately finding a cure.

Therefore, the mission of The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation is to raise awareness, encourage early detection and to fund research of esophageal cancer in hopes of a cure.

To learn more or to make a donation to the mission, please visit: www.salgi.org to learn more