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October 1956

Chronic Esophagitis: A Possible Factor in the Production of Carcinoma of the Esophagus

Author Affiliations


From the Surgical Service of Saint Luke's and St. Vincent Charity Hospitals.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1956;98(4):475-481. doi:10.1001/archinte.1956.00250280077010

The etiology of cancer is yet unsolved. Similarly, the relative importance of hereditary and environmental factors remains to be proved. There are variations in the incidence of cancer dependent upon racial, sex, hereditary, geographic, environmental, economic, social, and occupational factors. Chronic irritation to the skin and mucous membranes has long been thought to be a possible carcinogenic agent, whether this be traumatic, chemical, thermal, or bacterial. The relationship of chronic esophagitis to the subsequent development of malignancy has never been too well emphasized.

Reports1 have shown that patients afflicted with carcinoma of the esophagus come generally from a lower economic strata. This is probably a reflection of dietary habits. There seems to be a sex variation in that males for the most part have a higher incidence than females. However, in certain geographic locations, such as Mexico and certain parts of Scotland, females are equally affected. As Steiner2