Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Control Acid Reflux To Help Prevent Esophageal Cancer

Date:
July 9, 2007
Source:
University Of Michigan
Summary:
For most of his adult life, 49-year-old Jim Bonell suffered from acid reflux, but he never considered the condition dangerous. That is, until he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

For most of his adult life, 49-year-old Jim Bonell suffered from acid reflux, but he never considered the condition dangerous. That is, until he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

Related Articles


What Bonell didn’t know was that his chronic acid reflux left him with a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, which puts people at high risk for esophageal cancer. Barrett’s is a condition in which the cells lining the lower esophagus change because of repeated exposure to stomach acid. Normally, the tissue lining the esophagus is similar to the lining in your mouth (squamous mucosa), but with Barrett’s, the body replaces the normal esophageal lining with one similar to that found in the intestines.

“There were no symptoms that I had esophageal cancer,” says Bonell. “Prior to being diagnosed, my acid reflux was really bad and getting worse. I was a Tums-eater. I’d eat a whole bunch of them.”

Esophageal cancer rates are on the rise, and the increase may be due to an increase in obesity, says Mark B. Orringer, M.D. professor and head of thoracic surgery at the University of Michigan Health System. Obesity often causes a hiatus hernia and associated acid reflux.

Esophageal cancer has always carried a terrible prognosis. But thanks to an increasing awareness that heartburn may have serious implications along with earlier detection, improved staging tests and better treatment many patients like Bonell are winning the battle with this initially “silent” cancer.

Bonell has benefited from some of the surgical advances developed and refined at the U-M Health System. Traditionally, patients who needed to have their esophagus removed–either for esophageal cancer or Barrett’s esophagus – underwent highly invasive surgery that involved opening the chest and abdomen.

But Orringer and his colleagues developed a procedure, called transhiatal esophagectomy, in which the esophagus is removed through incisions in the abdomen and the neck, without the need to open the chest.

Once the esophagus is removed, the stomach is freed up from attachments holding it in the belly and it is pulled up through the chest. The stomach is then connected to the remaining esophagus in the neck.

The risk of infection is significantly lowered with this procedure because if any leak at the connection in the neck occurs, the resulting infection drains externally rather than in the chest, says Orringer. Further, by avoiding the traditional chest incision, pneumonia after this operation is much less common.

“In a recent study of more than 2,000 patients who have undergone a transhiatal esophagectomy at the University of Michigan, the hospital mortality rate in the last 1,000 patients was 1 percent; that’s one death in 100 operations,” he notes. “When I began as a faculty member in 1973, the mortality for esophagectomy was as high as 20 percent at many institutions.”

This development in surgical treatment is important given the dramatic rise in cancer cases that doctors believe stems from obesity and acid reflux. Twenty years ago, the most common type of esophageal cancer was squamous cancer, which arises from the squamous mucosa that lines the normal esophagus.

But in the past 10 to 15 years, there has been a 350 percent increase in adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, a type of cancer that is related to the cellular changes in the esophagus that are the hallmark of Barrett’s. It is now the most common form of esophageal cancer, occurring in 80 percent to 90 percent of patients. This increase in esophageal adenocarcinoma mirrors the rise of the obesity epidemic.

“There’s no question that the incidence of esophageal cancer is increasing dramatically. We have an epidemic of obesity in this country,” says Orringer. “I can’t walk into a social setting where there are not some people who are quite overweight and complain of heartburn or acid indigestion. I think we should be very concerned.”

Five tips to help prevent Barrett’s Esophagus and esophageal cancer

Work on losing weight. Obesity leads to hiatus hernia and reflux which are in turn responsible for the increasing rates of esophageal cancer. Talk to your family physician about developing a plan to lose weight by eating well and exercising regularly.

Don’t lie down after eating. For those with acid reflux, the valve between the esophagus and the stomach doesn’t function properly, allowing the contents of the stomach to back up into the esophagus. Lying down can make this problem worse, leading to late-night heartburn. Be sure to eat early to give your stomach time to empty before bedtime.

Sleep propped up. Lying down can exacerbate acid reflux. If you have reflux, consider arranging pillows so that your head and upper chest are elevated while you sleep. Stomach acid, like water, does not roll uphill.

Take an antacid. Neutralize stomach acid before it backs up into the esophagus with antacids.

Talk to your doctor. If you have a long history of severe heartburn or acid indigestion, talk to your doctor about Barrett’s esophagus, which increases your risk of developing cancer. Even if your acid reflux symptoms are controlled, you still could be at risk. The only way to diagnose Barrett’s is with an endoscopy and biopsy. Esophageal cancer can be cured, if it is diagnosed early.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Michigan. "Control Acid Reflux To Help Prevent Esophageal Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070708180418.htm>.
University Of Michigan. (2007, July 9). Control Acid Reflux To Help Prevent Esophageal Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070708180418.htm
University Of Michigan. "Control Acid Reflux To Help Prevent Esophageal Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070708180418.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Can Drinking Milk Lead To Early Death?

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Researchers in Sweden released a study showing heavy milk drinkers face an increased mortality risk from a variety of causes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins