It is hard to link the development of a particular type of cancer to an exact cause. There are certain conditions that appear to increase a person’s risk of developing cancer, but the exact level of risk is often a debated detail. The link between heartburn and esophageal cancer has been debated for years.
Those who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD are undoubtedly at an increased risk of developing esophageal cancer thanks to the irritation of the esophageal lining from constant exposure to stomach acids. However, the actual likelihood of someone developing esophageal cancer as a result of GERD has always been looked at as small. A team of researchers from the University of California in Los Angeles found that risk of esophageal cancer becomes much larger when heartburn, acid reflux and GERD go untreated, making surgical interventions like Nissen fundoplication in Ft. Worth and Dallas of even more importance.
Researchers at UCLA found that rates of esophageal cancer were six times larger in 2001 than they were in 1975. They partially attributed this increase in the condition to the increase in the amount of heartburn and acid reflux people experience as a result of obesity and following a poor diet. While a lot of people are turning to a GERD surgeon for relief, there are plenty of people avoiding treatment for the concern, thinking that heartburn and acid reflux are common enough problems that don’t require medical or surgical intervention. This is where the problem sets in when it comes to preventing esophageal cancer.
A diagnosis of GERD isn’t a prediction of getting esophageal cancer down the road, but it does increase your risk. The researchers at UCLA found that people who pursued treatment for their GERD and took steps to relieve heartburn and acid reflux were more successful at preventing esophageal cancer than those who resisted treatment early on.
One of the problems that many people run into is that it is hard to differentiate when a problem with heartburn has become something worse if you aren’t already receiving medical attention. A lot of people who develop esophageal cancer don’t experience any symptoms other than heartburn and acid reflux. If you aren’t willing to seek medical help for your chronic heartburn, early signs of cancer may go untreated as the disease continues to spread.
There are plenty of lifestyle habits that can make a small impact on the amount and severity of heartburn you are experiencing, but these dietary and exercise habits often aren’t enough to make real changes in the severity of GERD. Allowing your GERD to go untreated will only increase your risk of developing esophageal cancer, so it is in your best interest to seek treatment early on for regular heartburn and acid reflux.