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Is esophageal cancer genetic?

Lina71912
Posts: 15
Joined: Jul 2012

My mother's mom died of esophageal cancer, and now my mother also has esophageal cancer. Is esophageal cancer genetic? What do you think? Do you have relative also has EC?

Ladylacy
Posts: 457
Joined: Apr 2012

Lina my mother's youngest sister died from EC cancer in October of last year after a 3 1/2 year battle. No one in our family has had EC cancer just like my youngest sister was diagnosed 9 years ago with breast cancer and no one in the family has had it. She is a survivor.

My husband is battling laryngeal cancer and now EC cancer and no one in his family has had cancer. Yes he was a smoker and beer drinker but I know of others who smoked and drank and never got cancer. So whether or not hereditary plays a part, who knows for sure. Our youngest son was diagnosed 3 years ago with kidney cancer. He had a kidney removed and so far no problems. Up until 9 years ago, cancer was not in our families and now it has hit.

My belief is that they don't really know what causes cancer. They put it down to smoking, drinking, hereditary, what you eat and the list goes on and on. But how does a infant/child get brain cancer, or leukemia, or in fact any cancers but yet they do. Why do people get lung cancer who have never smoked a day in their life and the list could go on and on. It would be wonderful if they could actually find a cure for all cancers and if not a complete cure, then the actual reason why cancer effects some but not others.

Sharon

Bermudagirl
Posts: 120
Joined: Jun 2012

I certainly don't pretend to have the answer, but I will share what we learned the first day at Hopkins when we went for our multi-disciplinary consult. The nurse who led our orientation said for the patients not to beat themselves up over whether they might have smoked, or what led to their diagnosis BUT if they had children who smoked please implore them to quit as they are now much more at risk for EC if their parent has it. I have no scientific documentation to back up that statement, but it stuck with me. I went home and told MY 20 year old son how much it upsets me to see him smoking, especially given what Dave is going through. We went to the doctor, he got a prescription for nicorette, and the best of my knowledge he has not smoked.

Ladylacy
Posts: 457
Joined: Apr 2012

Bermudagirl, we have 2 sons that smoke and you would think that after seeing what their father is going thru they would quit. But no they keep right on smoking but not around him. They go outside and smoke, but lord do they and their spouses smell when they come back in the house. I have talked until I am blue in the face to them about smoking and no I don't smoke. Funny my husband was a pipe smoker for 40 plus years and he couldn't stand cigarette smoke but when he was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, he put the pipe down and never picked it up again. No one could understand how he didn't have withdrawal, but he didn't.

All the air pollutions don't help people either. People have said that it is preservatives in our foods that are the cause and you really have to wonder.

Bermudagirl
Posts: 120
Joined: Jun 2012

Hi Ladylacy,

Sorry to hear that your sons and DIL's have not quit. I just don't understand people that continue to smoke in this day and age. I'm more convinced that it is habit. Studies show that after the first 10 days or so the actual craving is gone, and then it is all behavior based.

I live in Maryland, and we have a ridiculously high cancer rate, and more specifically my county (Anne Arundel) is off the charts. I am a cancer survivor myself, I got Hodgkins lymphoma 10 years ago, at 43. Have no idea how or why, I was always the "good girl", never drank or smoke or engaged in risky behaviors. But cancer doesn't discriminate. Point in case is Dana Reeve (the wife of the late Christopher Reeve ~ Superman~) who died of lung cancer. How the heck did that happen? I think it can be genetic, can be enviromental, and also just plain ole luck of the draw!

Sandy

captdave's picture
captdave
Posts: 168
Joined: Feb 2012

I don't know if it is genetic or not but I do have at least two cousins who have had EC,

Dave

dodger21's picture
dodger21
Posts: 83
Joined: May 2011

I had early stage and my paternal grandmother died of EC from Barretts in the 80's. My dad refuses to get tested for Barretts. As it is generally a male's cancer, I am convinced it is genetic.

Aussiegirl76
Posts: 15
Joined: Aug 2012

I am not sure. I suspect there is some genetic predisposition. My dad has ec, his dad had ec (but was mets from prostate cancer) and my mums dad also died of ec. My sister gets acid reflux so is terrified. Are there any genetic tests you can have like with breast cancer?

jaycc
Posts: 130
Joined: Jul 2012

Lina,
How is your mother doing ? Its not fair you have to go through EC again, hugs go out to you and your gang.
Our family (my side) is no stranger to cancer. But out of nowhere came the EC diagnosis for my husband. Within 1 month his uncle was also diagnosised.
As William has mentioned there is suspect of genetics.
Here's my take. I'm not waiting for the medical world to make up their mind. They are just to #%$ slow. They don't know yet. I don't know. Probably a genetic tendency, since its GI environment plays a part as well.

So I'm assuming to treat my kids for awareness and prevention, not change their life but do some things that are good for good health and prevention.

For my kids (both over and under 21);
no smoking (always been that way, lost mother, step-mother, and sister to cancer)
Diet, diet, diet - working on "Eat for life" type diet including food that the body needs and helps keep us healthy. (not dramatic, but ensuring the right foods get eaten as well as those special treats, pizza and such).
Holistic handling of stress - we have chronic health problems but will win the battle of having a happy life, regardless of its length. So each one is to work with me on an avenue to reduce or relieve stress. Some current examples; baseball (no talk of illness or problems once we hit the field it all about playing ball). yogi (clearing the mind really helps, also helps with sleep, and relaxing). running, girls night out (that's for me).
My kids physicians have been notified of my husband's EC.

My one child already has a chronic disorder, fortunately doing fabulous. So I have sent some very personal and hopefully inspiring information to his physician team. Making it very clear they are to watch for EC, and I will be sending them regular updates on awareness and genetic studies.

I have also had all my husband records and films copies so if needed for anyone, they are available.

Joel C's picture
Joel C
Posts: 168
Joined: Mar 2011

Both my father and his cousin died of EC and now I have it. They were both smokers, I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life or suffered from acid reflux, go figure. Like dodger I’m convinced there is a genetic connection.
Joel

angel6122
Posts: 28
Joined: Aug 2012

I know this is an older thread, but wanted to chime in. My dad has EC, just recently found out its stage 4 with lung and liver mets. Both of my dad's brothers died from EC One at an early age 40 and the other was 45. One of my uncles was a heavy smoker/drinker the other was not. My dad did not smoke or drink and is a vegetarian. Was always in pretty good health and he is 78 now but a young 78 to me.  2 of my dads sisters had cancer. lung and brain. my cousin died of lung and breast cancer. I had both lung and breast cancer. My daughter had breast cancer. My moms side of the family never had any kind of cancer. (knock wood) I believe that it is a heredity on my dads side. But then again I think for others there is no ryme or reason and cancer is just a crap shoot. Some people can smoke, drink and live to be 100 where others live very healthily and get cancer. Don't think they will ever find a cure, too much money to be made for the big pharma.

Joel C's picture
Joel C
Posts: 168
Joined: Mar 2011

Angel,

 

I also don’t think caner will be cured anytime soon.  Many of the chemo drugs were developed as far back as the 50’s and are still the primary treatment for cancer along with radiation which dates back to the early 1900’s, not exactly ground breaking stuff.  I believe the reality is the advances have been make in imaging and early detection but not so much in treatment. I agree that selling drugs developed over 60 years ago at many thousands of dollars per bag is a pretty good gig for the pharmaceuticals.

 

Joel

angel6122
Posts: 28
Joined: Aug 2012

Joel- I agree too that early detection is the key word. The problem with EC in my opinion is that too many Dr brush off the patients complaints and by the time they are scoped it is almost to late by then. I hope you are doing well.

Hugs

Debbie

jaycc
Posts: 130
Joined: Jul 2012

I think prevention is key, but as already mentioned the slow advances in cancer treatment are un-execusable. My husband was perfectly healthy except for the sudden dx of EC. the medical docs might pat themselves on the back that they got him 10 months at Stage IV. I told them out right, that they failed. So hopefully some cures for cancer will really start coming out, as oppose to the big business of cancer.

goty2001
Posts: 71
Joined: Jul 2012

I don't think there's a simple yes or no answer.  I've heard a world expert state that 15% of cancers may be hereditary.  By the way .. new treatments are coming on board.  Targeted therapies that deliver strong toxins directly to tumors, without affecting good cells. Herceptin has proved successful (for some EC sufferes) - watch for  others in that area later this year...

JKGulliver
Posts: 81
Joined: Apr 2013

Our cancer is T3 Stage 2B.  We messed around with the GI clinic at our healthcare facility for six months.  Finally, out of frustration, we went out-of-network.  We are facing chemo/radiation and surgery.  Who knows where we would be if someone took us seriously in September, 2012.  The irony is - never saw a doctor.  They were all too busy to see us.  Could not get an appointment.  So, we messed around with nurse practitioners who do one thing, wait a month, do another thing, wait a month.  NP and PA's are not trained to think systemically and to problem solve.  They are trained to order tests and to treat the test results.  If they can't immediately put their finger on a test result looking for a remedy, they move on to the next test.  The medical insurance industry encourages this, in fact, drives it and applauds it.  Maddening.

CarolandJoe
Posts: 23
Joined: Feb 2013

My husband's oncologist requested DNA testing as part of the post-surgery biopsies.  He tested positive for the HER2 gene.  This gene has long been associated with breast cancer but has only been associated with colon, stomach and gastroesophageal cancers for a few years.  My limited understanding is that having the HER2 gene means you have cells that are more probable to change to cancer cells than normal cells.  As part of my husband's post-surgery treatment, in additional to the chemo, he is receiving Herceptin treatments weekly for a full year.  The Herceptin is a targeted anti-body that attaches itself to the HER2 cells to inhibit those cells from changing to cancer.  Herceptin has been successfully improving recurrence rates in breast cancer patients for several years.  Herceptin is now an approved therapy for colon, stomach and gastroesophageal cancers.  Our oncologist told us that the Herceptin treatments should improve my husband's chances of recurrence from a 60% chance to a 30% chance of recurrence.  He is cancer free post-surgery (he was staged T3N0M0) so our greatest concern now is the probability of recurrence.  My husband's family has a strong history of colon cancer--his mother and maternal grandmother both died from colon cancer and his younger sister was diagnosed with colon cancer last year.  I hope our experience helps.

eternalife
Posts: 36
Joined: Apr 2013

Hi Carol and Joe,

My husband stage iv EC,  tested + for the HER gene and like yours has been given Herceptin, he was only on it for a few months, His father also had colon cancer. The family ate a lot of preserved cold cuts over their lives. The nitrites in the cold cuts are known to be carcinogenic. I suspect there is a genetic component to EC cancer.

 

The research is slow for EC, hoping some new drugs will hit the market soon, Anyone heard about possible new drugs or treatment plans?

dlrepic
Posts: 64
Joined: Nov 2010

Just to add my two cents.  My grandfather died in Nov 1984 from EC.  My father died June 2012 and now two of his three brothers have EC (stage II & stage IV).  My brother has Barrett's.  I'm having an Upper GI tomorrow and here's hoping all is well as it seems to be a male trait in our family, but there are only 3 girls.

DR

JKGulliver
Posts: 81
Joined: Apr 2013

I am not a medical professional.  But, I can tell you what I know.  To my knowledge, no one is currently looking for a genetic link to EC.  However, EC is related to many things that may have a genetic component.  Acid reflux is an example.  Long time suffers of acid reflux are more likely to develop EC.  Acid reflux, and many things in the gastric system, tend to run in families, and therefore may have a genetic component.  It would be a very difficult thing to study.  This is because lifestyle also tends to run in families.  So, if a person in your immediate family smokes, you are more likely to smoke.  I hope this helps.

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