Dr. Tripp Bucklely of Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in Round Rock joined us in the studio to tell us why looking out for signs of heartburn has to do with catching and treating this specific type of cancer. Esophageal Cancer is one of the fastest growing cancers and one of the most deadly in the U.S. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 17,000 new cases of esophageal cancer will be diagnosed in 2016. Incidence of Adenocarcinoma, a type of esophageal cancer linked to GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) has risen 600% in recent decades.GERD is more than Heartburn
According to F. Paul “Tripp” Buckley III, M.D., General Surgeon and Director of the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center- Round Rock Heartburn & Acid Reflux Center, “GERD is a chronic, often progressive disease resulting from a weak lower esophageal sphincter that allows harmful gastric fluid to reflux into the esophagus, resulting in both pain and injury to the esophageal lining.” Symptoms of GERD include heartburn and regurgitation, often associated with chronic sleep disruption, and may also include persistent cough, excessive throat clearing, hoarseness and a feeling of a “lump” in the throat. Acid reflux medications affect gastric acid production, but do not repair the sphincter defect, allowing continued reflux.GERD can lead to Cancer
Patients with chronic GERD can develop a condition called Barrett’s esophagus. An estimated 15% of chronic reflux patients also have Barrett’s esophagus – a condition caused when digestive acid backs up from the stomach into the esophagus, causing damage and the growth of pre-cancerous cells3. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than three million people in the U.S. have Barrett’s esophagus. Left untreated, patients with Barrett’s esophagus have a 40 times greater risk in developing adenocarcinoma, an aggressive form of cancer that is often fatal.
The most common symptom of esophageal cancer is a problem swallowing, with a feeling like food is stuck in your throat or chest, or even choking on food. This is often mild when it starts, and then gets worse over time as the opening inside the esophagus gets narrower. Additional symptoms include; weight loss without trying, chest pain, pressure or burning, worsening indigestion or heartburn, coughing or hoarseness, and bleeding in the esophagus.
If you experience GERD symptoms more than twice a week, or continue to have symptoms and/or develop new or worsening symptoms while on medication, call the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center- Round Rock Heartburn & Acid Reflux Center at 512-509-GERD or go to heartburn.sw.org.Sponsored by Baylor Scott & White. Opinions expressed by guests on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.