Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) elevates one’s risk of developing esophageal cancer (adenocarcinoma.) The risk further increases based on the severity of symptoms (ie. heartburn and regurgitation from the stomach) and how long it goes without being properly treated.
The United States National Library of Medicine defines GERD as “a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach).” This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle between the esophagus and stomach, becomes damaged or weakened.
Esophageal cancer adenocarinoma is the fastest growing cancer in the United States and also one of the deadliest cancers. Since the cancer is often detected late, the survival rate is extremely low. Therefore, it is crucial to speak to your doctor if you or someone you know is suffering from frequent heartburn and/or regurgitation.
There are many tests that can be performed to accurately diagnose GERD. Too often, PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) are prescribed by doctors for the treatment of GERD. PPIs function are to only manage GERD symptoms they do not repair the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Unfortunately, these medications do not relieve all patients from their GERD symptoms and they are not intended to be taken for a long period of time as they can cause serious long-term health effects.
Our friends at RefluxMD put together a fantastic article which describes the various ways your doctor can assess your condition. Don’t ignore frequent heartburn! Take the very first step in managing your GERD symptoms by reading this article. Click here to learn more.
We are thankful for resources such as our friends at RefluxMD. By working together, we can continue to raise awareness of esophageal cancer and dangerous risk factors such as GERD.