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Esophageal cancer is fairly rare, but it's also hard to treat. Worldwide, anywhere from 12 percent to a third of people who develop it survive five years.
Up to 8 percent of the world's population has the enzyme deficiency, meaning if even a small number of the at-risk avoided alcohol, esophageal cancer deaths could drop substantially, the review concluded.
In the U.S., most esophageal cancer is a type called adenocarcinoma that is linked to chronic, severe heartburn. The flushing-linked type is squamous cell carcinoma, less common here than abroad.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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