A Detailed Note on the Relationship Between Acid Reflux and Cancer

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A Detailed Note on the Relationship Between Acid Reflux and Cancer
A Detailed Note on the Relationship Between Acid Reflux and Cancer

Acid reflux is a widespread problem most people are facing nowadays. Heartburn is one of the most common symptoms of acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux, according to the best cancer hospital in Delhi. Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows into the esophagus and starts irritating the esophagus lining. Once acid reflux reaches an advanced level, it is called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

People who suffer from GERD may develop problems like Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer later in life.

What is acid reflux?  

After consuming food, the muscles situated at the end of the esophagus, better known as the esophageal sphincter, keep the consumed food inside the stomach. The esophageal sphincter controls food movement between the stomach and the esophagus.

Once the esophageal sphincter becomes weak, the stomach juices and the food returns to the esophagus. This condition creates a burning sensation in the lower esophagus and leads to acid reflux. In addition, acid reflux may result in various other symptoms like regurgitation and uncontrolled burping.

Chronic Acid Reflux or GERD:

Once you start experiencing acid reflux twice a week, you should consult your healthcare provider. Doctors may diagnose the symptoms as a chronic illness and retag the chronic acid reflux as GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. Some other symptoms of GERD apart from heartburn are:

  • Troubled swallowing
  • Pain in the chest
  • Regurgitation of food or liquids
  • Lumpy feeling in the throat

If you are experiencing these symptoms for a prolonged period, it’s time to see a medical advisor in the best cancer hospital in Delhi.

Is there any connection between Acid reflux and GI Cancer?

If acid reflux is a periodic condition, it does not pose any risk for stomach or esophageal cancer. However, when the acid reflux becomes chronic, the esophageal tissue, which is not resilient enough like the stomach lining to stand regular acid exposure, gets damaged over time. This continuous damage can escalate the chances of esophageal cancer.

The connection between Barrett’s Esophagus and Cancer 

GERD can trigger more critical conditions like Barrett’s esophagus. The damaged tissues of the esophagus turn red and thick and start acting like small-bowel tissue. This condition is known as Barrett’s esophagus. People suffering from acid reflux for more than five years face the risk of developing this condition.

Barrett’s esophagus is fatal as it leads to adenocarcinoma, a prevalent form of esophageal cancer. However, it is a matter of quite a long time to develop cancer from Barrett’s esophagus.

The experts suggest patients suffering from GERD or Barrett’s esophagus go for a regular check-up to find out if there are any such problems as dysplasia or precancerous cells. Prevention is better than cure. Treating the initial symptoms before it leads to more severe conditions like cancer is always advisable.

Does Acid Reflux Medications accelerate the risk of cancer? 

According to a study conducted in Sweden in 2018, Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs), primarily used in the treatment of acid reflux or GERD, can pose the risk of developing gastric cancer when used for a prolonged period. These medications are used to control the production of stomach acid to prevent it from burning the esophagus. But questions are being asked recently about the safety of this kind of drug when used in the long term for treating acid reflux.

When acid production gets controlled by these medications, the production of gastrin increases, triggering the formation and growth of gastrointestinal tumors. Over time, those tumors become malignant and lead to esophageal, stomach, and other GI cancers.

The diagnosis of GERD 

Depending on the patient’s symptoms, doctors can suggest tests like upper endoscopy, ambulatory acid probe test, and imaging with barium swallow to confirm the diagnosis.

How to treat GERD from becoming Barrett’s esophagus?

  • Keep a careful eye on your weight
  • Chew your food well and eat slowly
  • Stop lying down on the bed immediately after having food
  • Keep a check on smoking
  • Avoid wearing tight clothing

Antacids are used as a short-term treatment. Proton-pump inhibitors are used as acid blockers. Sometimes esophageal-reflux surgery is also suggested by doctors.

Diagnosis of stomach cancer 

Your healthcare provider will ask you to go for a physical exam, including a complete blood count (CBC), upper endoscopy, and CT scan with barium swallow to assess the symptoms.

Treatment of stomach cancer

Mostly stomach cancer is treated with surgery. Primary treatments include chemotherapy and radiation. However, the treatment of most cases depends on the growth of cancer.

Is there any hereditary connection between GERD and stomach cancer? 

When you have gastrointestinal cancer in your family, you are at a higher risk of it. Though any particular gene could not be found, there certainly is a pattern of inheritance of GERD among family members from various generations.

Go to your medical advisor at the earliest when faced with any symptoms mentioned above. Then, seek help when required and opt for the best cancer hospital in Delhi.

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