Partners even more likely than survivors to experience fear and worry over long term, study finds
WEDNESDAY, July 25 (HealthDay News) -- Rates of esophageal cancer have surged due to a lack of awareness about what causes the disease and how it can be prevented, experts say.
The esophagus is the muscular tube that carries food and liquid from the mouth to the stomach. There were six times as many cases of esophageal cancer in 2001 as there were in 1975, according to a team from the University of California, Los Angeles. The researchers noted that one key way people can reduce their risk for the disease is by managing heartburn and acid reflux, often called gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
"Obesity and poor diet have spiked the numbers suffering from acid reflux," Dr. V. Raman Muthusamy, associate clinical professor of medicine and endoscopy director at the UCLA Center for Esophageal Disorders, said in a university news release.
If left untreated, GERD can cause stomach acid to wash repeatedly into the esophagus, causing changes in the tissue lining. This condition is called Barrett's esophagus, and people diagnosed with Barrett's may be up to 40 times more likely to develop esophageal cancer, the UCLA experts explained.
Complicating matters, people with esophageal cancer may not experience any symptoms other than heartburn, which could prevent early detection of the disease, said Muthusamy and his colleague Dr. Kevin Ghassemi, clinical programs director at the UCLA Center for Esophageal Disorders.
"Early identification, treatment and management of changes in the esophageal lining are critical to catching problems early," Ghassemi said in the news release.
To help people know when to be concerned about acid reflux or heartburn and reduce the risks associated with the condition, Muthusamy and Ghassemi offered the following tips:
The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be nearly 17,500 new cases of esophageal cancer in the United States in 2012, and more than 15,000 deaths from the disease.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about esophageal cancer.
SOURCE: University of California, Los Angeles, Health Sciences, news release, July 16, 2012
Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Thu Aug 02, 2012 05:49 AM
I think I should consider being screened for Barrett's esophagus. I had experienced Acid Reflux for over ten years. However, I have been taking medicine for the Acid Reflux for some ten years now. For the last four years I have been eating MMJ Edibles and Hemp Oil with THC, (as shown on YouTube with Rick Simpson) to treat my CLL Leukemia, and my WBC's have started decreasing to stage 0. So something is working. Yeah!
Sat Aug 04, 2012 06:32 PM
I have been on various medications to treat acid reflux for over thirty years. I had my first scope during a routine annual physical in 2011 and discovered a 12 cm.area of my aesophagus affected by cancerous tumours. I had surgery in Feb. 2012 and in May 2012 I had a cancerous node removed from my right neck. Now I will need 30 treatments of radiation over a 6 week period. I was fortunate to be well enough to be a candidate for surgery in February and recovered well until I developed the cancerous node. I tell all my friends to get tested on a regular basis. I am a non-smoker and do not drink so I would attribute this to diet related issues - fatty foods and sugars.
Thu Aug 16, 2012 02:45 AM
I was diagnosed with aesophageal cancer in the fall of 2011 with chemo and radiation prior to surgery in Feb. 2012. They were successful at shrinking some of the tumours but I had 12 cm. affected. My aesophagus was replaced with a tube created from the stomach and attached to the remaining section. The operation was intense but I recovered from this with minimal pain within 2 months and was able to function and eat well. I, however, developed a lymph node in the left side below the collar bone which was cancerous and removed in June 2012 and I am now awaiting a course of 30 treatments of radiation as part of the management. The radiation is being delayed because I developed a case of shingles which is due to the fact that my immune system has been compromised from cancer, medications, my age, etc. I am also a cancer survivor from 6 years ago (ovarian cancer) having had surgery chemotherapy and radiation treatments at that time. My thoughts are that the aesophagus was never bothering me once I was on acid reflux medication so I was never keen to ask for a scope test and it was not suggested. I now tell all my friends that they should be tested as part of their routine yearly physical. I am under close supervision now but I feel that I have missed the boat.
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