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Monday, December 9, 2013
GERD and esophageal cancer
I have GERD so I am a little worried about getting esophageal cancer. What are some things I could do to help prevent this?
There are 2 types of esophageal cancer. The more common type in the US is adenocarcinoma, which has been linked to gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD.
We must remember that the overall risk of developing cancer in patients with GERD is extremely low. However, it is also important to see your physician if those symptoms of GERD persist. If, after medical management, there is no improvement, your physician may recommend an esophagoscopy. If there is evidence of changes in the lining of the esophagus, then it would be important to obtain endoscopies at regular intervals.
Although it has never been proven that good control of GERD can reduce the incidence of cancer (it would take a trial of many thousands of patients to show that), it is still reasonable to assume that diminishing the injury from reflux is helpful. Dietary control, weight management, and using antireflux medications may all help reduce the long-term effects of GERD.
Abbas Abbas, MD
Assistant Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University