Types and Causes of Esophageal Cancer

Contact Information

Contact UW Carbone Cancer Center for appointment scheduling, patient referrals and more information: 

(608) 262-5223

(800) 622-8922

Types of Esophageal Cancer


There are two main types of esophageal cancer. One type is called squamous cell carcinoma. It usually occurs in the upper and middle parts of the esophagus. Currently, the most common type in the United States is called adenocarcinoma. It usually develops in the lower third of the esophagus.


In middle-aged white men, the number of cases of adenocarcinoma of the esophagus is increasing more frequently than any other type of cancer. Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus is associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).


Causes of Esophageal Cancer


The exact cause of esophageal cancer is not known. Risk factors include:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Barrett's esophagus
  • Tobacco use
  • Alcohol use
  • Obesity