HEARTBURN AND ESOPHAGUS CANCER
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The incidence of a deadly form of esophagus cancer associated with gastroesophageal reflux
disease (GERD) is rising at an alarming rate. Some 90 percent of people suffered from esophageal
adenocarcinoma may die in five years. The incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma has soared
600% since the 1970s. It is about 7,000 to 8,000 new cases of esophageal adenocarcinoma per
year in the US.
The major risk factors are known to be gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Barrett's
esophagus. Each year, about one half of 1 percent of people with Barrett's, or one in 200, will go on
to develop adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. [1] The Barrett's esophagus is related to acid reflux.
Acid reflux can sometimes result esophagitis, i.e. an inflammation of the esophagus. In addition, a
narrowing or partial closure (stricture) of the lower esophagus may occur. It may also lead to Barret's
esophagus, a change in the cells of the tissue lining the bottom of the esophagus. This can increase
the chance of developing cancer. It may also cause lung problems when the gastric fluid overflows
into the breathing tubes during the reflux.

What causes gastroesophageal reflux disease?
Factors that may contribute to gastroesophageal reflux disease include alcohol use, overweight,
pregnancy and smoking  Also, certain foods can be associated with reflux events, including citrus
fruits, chocolate, drinks with caffeine, fatty and fried foods, garlic and onions, mint flavorings, spicy
foods, tomato-based foods, like spaghetti sauce, chili, and pizza.

Many heartburn sufferers significantly reduce their burping by avoiding the trigger foods and
behaviors.  However, if you have had heartburn or any of the other symptoms for a while, you should
see your doctor. You may want to visit an internist, a doctor who specializes in internal medicine, or a
gastroenterologist, a doctor who treats diseases of the stomach and intestines. Depending on how
severe your gastroesophageal reflux disease is, treatment may involve one or more of the following
lifestyle changes and medications or surgery. Your doctor may also advise you to change your
lifestyle, such as stop smoking, stop drinking alcohol, control weight (if needed), eating small meals,
wearing loose-fitting clothes, avoiding lying down for 3 hours after a meal and raising the head of your
bed 6-8 inches higher.

REFERENCE
[1] Amanda Gardner Reflux-Linked Esophagus Cancer On the Rise HealthDay, November 10, 2005.
[2]
Persistent Burping, zhion.com online publication, November 12, 2005

                     
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