Cancer Alert! Chronic Heartburn May Be an Early Warning Sign of Certain Cancer Types

We usually associate vocal cord and other throat cancers with bad habits, like smoking and alcohol abuse. Chronic heartburn, however, may be a far more accurate forerunner of these types of cancers. What did a recent study reveal to be the best way to protect yourself if you face heartburn issues regularly? Is it medication prescribed by a physician? Believe it or not, antacids may reduce throat cancer risk.

But, haven’t previous studies attempting to connect throat and larynx cancer to acid reflux proven inconclusive? While this is true, those studies were all on a very small scale and didn’t factor in many variables. The study in question is comprehensive, involving many individuals over a longer period of time. Over 1,800 people participated in the study, with approximately two thirds of those individuals serving as the control group.

The participants were surveyed to learn more about factors in their life that could result in various throat cancers, including their personal habits, family and medical histories, and certain demographic information. They also had to be tested for HPV 16 antibodies, since HPV has been linked to throat cancers and could have skewed study results.

In the end, the study revealed a 78 percent greater risk of the predicted forms of cancers for those with chronic heartburn, even if they didn’t use alcohol or cigarettes. On the other hand, those who used antacids to fight their heartburn saw a 41 percent decrease in risk. The antacid users did not take prescription drugs to fight the condition nor were they using homeopathic remedies.

While more research is needed, these initial results seem to indicate antacids may reduce throat cancer risk, particularly among high risk individuals. The study findings may also help doctors identify and screen people who are at higher risk for throat and vocal cord cancers for early intervention.