What is the association between achalasia and esophageal cancer?
Patients with achalasia are thought to be at increased risk for the development of squamous cell carcinoma, with risk as high as 140-fold reported . The risk is elevated because of food retention, chronic chemical irritation, and bacterial growth, as well as the associated esophagitis and Barrett’s formation, the latter resulting in adenocarcinoma. Tumors develop at an age 10 years younger than in the general population and carry a worse prognosis because of late diagnosis. The effect of surgical treatment on the incidence of cancer is not known and surveillance endoscopy is recommended every 2 years .