Posts tagged acid reflux
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.
What’s acid reflux? It’s the backflow of anything from the stomach into the esophagus. Whether it’s from stomach acid or food, acid reflux can be painful in esophagus or lead to complications when it reaches the throat or even the voice box.
Depending on the underlying condition, a person may not even need to eat in order to experience reflux. They don’t need to be in any particular position, and it can happen at any time.
Laryngopharyngeal reflux is a particular kind of acid reflux that may often go unnoticed. This is because it lasts such a brief amount of time that the sufferer may not experience noticeable heartburn as a result. The problem is that the reflux is still doing damage to the throat and larynx.
If the reflux reaches all the way to the back of the throat or the voice box, serious complications can occur. So how can you tell if you have this harmful condition? If the reflux reaches the voice box, chronic hoarseness can become a problem. You may cough or have to clear your throat regularly, and some experience problems swallowing.
In some cases, a person may experience heartburn so don’t discount laryngopharyngeal reflux just because it doesn’t usually result in indigestion. You should consult an ear, nose, and throat specialist if you are experiencing these symptoms. Smoking can increase the likelihood of this condition, so if you experience these symptoms and are a smoker, there is an even greater urgency to both seek a medical opinion and to also kick the smoking habit.
If your doctor suspects this condition, he may check your voice box for inflammation as a diagnosis. Your general practitioner can recommend an ear, nose, and throat specialist to assist with treatment.