Does Acid Reflux Cause Esophageal Cancer?
Can persistent acid reflux cause esophageal cancer? The answer to that question will vary according to the type of esophageal cancer a person has developed.
Esophageal adenocarcinoma Is the most common type in the United States, affecting primarily white men. It has a strong association with chronic and long-term symptoms of GERD or acid reflux.
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma is the most common, however, worldwide. It is strongly associated with long-term and heavy use of alcohol and tobacco products. African-American men are twice as likely to develop this form of cancer, if they are using both alcohol and tobacco products.
Although esophageal cancer is not as common as other cancers such as breast, lung, prostate or colon, exact statistics are a little uncertain. This is in part due to the fact that there is an ongoing controversy about whether cancers that develop in the small region where the esophagus and stomach join should, in fact, be considered cancers of the esophagus. It is rather interesting to note, however, that cancers that develop in this region are increasing in frequency faster than any other type of cancer in the United States.
What are the symptoms of esophageal cancer?
If a person is experiencing difficulty with swallowing, or get the feeling that food is sticking somewhere in the throat before it can enter the stomach, this may be cause for concern and merits seeking a proper diagnosis from a doctor. Generally, these symptoms are progressive. Tests should be run to determine whether or not there is a growth in the esophagus that could be interfering with swallowing. If the growth is identified, a biopsy is necessary to confirm whether it is malignant.
The cure rate of esophageal cancer is highly dependent on the stage of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. If caught early, 80% to 90% of patients will go on to be cancer free after treatment. Yet, often by the time this form of cancer is discovered it has already entered the later stages. If you are experiencing recurring acid reflux, receiving treatment long before it can develop into something more serious may be the most proactive step that you can take in order to protect yourself from possible future complications.
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