| - Cancer of the esophagus is an underestimated, poorly understood, and changing disease. Its overall 5-year survival is less than 20%, even in the United States, which is largely a function of a delay in diagnosis until its more advanced stages. Additionally, the epidemiologic complexities of esophageal cancer are vast, rendering screening and prevention limited at best. First, the prevalence of esophageal cancer is unevenly distributed throughout the world. Second, the two histological forms (squamous cell and adenocarcinoma) vary in terms of their geographic prevalence and associated risk factors. Third, some populations appear at particular risk for esophageal cancer. And fourth, the incidence of esophageal cancer is in continuous flux among groups. Despite the varied prevalence and risks among populations, some factors have emerged as consistent associations while others are only now becoming more fully recognized. The most prominent, scientifically supported, and long-regarded risk factors for esophageal cancer are tobacco, alcohol, and reflux esophagitis. Inasmuch as the above are regarded as important risk factors for esophageal cancer, they are not the sole contributors. Dietary habits, nutrition, local customs, and the environment may be contributory. Along these lines, vitamins, minerals, fruits, vegetables, meats, fats, salted foods, nitrogen compounds, carcinogens, mycotoxins, and even the temperature of what we consume are increasingly regarded as potential etiologies for this deadly although potentially preventable disease. The goal of this review is to shed light on the less known role of nutrition and dietary habits in esophageal cancer.