Research on generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and its association with esophageal cancer (EC) is sparse. The study aimed to explore the association between GAD and EC.
A multicenter population-based study in high-risk regions for EC (ECHRRs) was conducted from 2017 to 2019. All participants received free endoscopy screening. If the esophageal endoscopy results were suspicious, the pathological biopsy was performed to confirm normal, esophagitis, low-grade intraepithelial neoplasia (LGIN), high-grade intraepithelial neoplasia (HGIN) and EC. Information on participants’ exposure to risk factors was collected. GAD was assessed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale-7.
25650 participants in ECHRRs were examined with esophageal endoscopy, 9586 of whom were suspicious and confirmed by esophageal pathology. The detection rate of EC and precancerous lesions was 6.83% (1751/25650), with 1377 LGIN (5.37%), 272 HGIN (1.06%) and 102 EC (0.40%) cases. The overall mean GAD score (95% CI) and prevalence among 25650 participants with endoscopy were 1.96 (1.93-1.99) and 16.90%, respectively. The mean GAD score and prevalence among 9586 participants with pathology were 1.96 (1.91-2.02) and 17.98%, respectively. The mean GAD scores of patients confirmed with normal, esophagitis, LGIN, HGIN and EC were 1.73 (1.62-1.85), 1.91 (1.85-1.97), 1.94 (1.80-2.08), 3.98 (3.73-4.23) and 2.97 (2.49-3.45), respectively (P < .001). The corresponding prevalence of GAD were 5.21%, 18.72%, 17.72%, 43.75% and 36.27%, respectively (P < .001). The age- and gender-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) between GAD and each esophageal lesion type were 1.02 (0.99-1.04), 1.01 (0.98-1.04), 1.27 (1.21-1.33) and 1.16 (1.08-1.24), respectively. The ORs (95% CIs) of the positive associations were 1.08 (1.05-1.12), 1.03 (0.99-1.07), 1.35 (1.29-1.42) and 1.19 (1.10-1.29) after further adjustment for potential confounders (all P < .001). Sensitivity analysis showed that the positive association persisted.
GAD was significantly higher in patients with EC and precancerous lesions. Focusing on and alleviating anxiety in high-risk groups (including patients with HGIN and EC) may be an effective strategy for EC prevention and control. Further prospective studies are warranted to validate the results. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.