Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Esophageal cancer risk lower than expected for patients with GERD

Date:
January 1, 2011
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
The risk of esophageal cancer among patients who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease is not as high as many may think, according to new research.

The risk of esophageal cancer among patients who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is not as high as many may think, according to new research from University of Michigan gastroenterologists.

GERD is considered a relative risk for developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, but the absolute risk is not known, says Joel Rubenstein, M.D., M.Sc., an investigator with the Department of Veterans Affairs Center for Clinical Management Research in Ann Arbor and Assistant Professor in the University of Michigan's Department of Internal Medicine.

"Since GERD is incredibly common, many people may be worried about their increased risk for developing cancer due to GERD. This study's results help put that risk into perspective and may help physicians decide when screening to prevent cancer is needed," says Rubenstein.

Rubenstein and his co-authors set out to estimate the incidence of new cases of esophageal adenocarcinoma in the large population of people with GERD symptoms.

The research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology this week found:

  • Women with GERD likely have a low rate of esophageal adenocarcinoma, similar to the rate of breast cancer in men.
  • The rate of esophageal adenocarcinoma in white men who are 60 years old with weekly GERD is just one-third of their rate of colorectal cancer or 34.6 per 100,000 patients per year.
  • The rate of esophageal adenocarcinoma in younger white men with GERD is less than one-third of their incidence of colorectal cancer.

GERD is characterized by symptoms that result from repeated or prolonged exposure of the lining of the esophagus to acidic contents from the stomach and occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter does not seal off the esophagus from the stomach.

The two most frequently reported symptoms of GERD are heartburn and regurgitation, which is characterized by the effortless flow of fluid rising up the chest toward the mouth. Some estimates say up to 1 in 4 people in U.S. suffer from GERD.

Rubenstein concluded that screening for esophageal adenocarcinoma should not be performed in men younger than age 50 or in women because of the very low incidences of the cancer, regardless of the frequency of GERD symptoms. However, in white men with weekly GERD over the age of 60, the incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma is substantial and may warrant screening.

"Our study does not say who should be screened or the effectiveness of the screening. But we can say that for a 60-year-old man with GERD, screening for colon cancer is more important than screening for esophageal adenocarcinoma," Rubenstein says.

"We hope this study can help physicians recognize the absolute risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma in patients with GERD within the context of the risk of more familiar cancers, and make it easier to communicate these risks to patients, guiding them in rational decisions about screening procedures."

He cautioned however, that if patients are experiencing alarm symptoms such as trouble swallowing, unintentional weight loss, or vomiting, they should seek medical care immediately, as these symptoms could be due to a cancer already present in the esophagus.

Funding: National Institutes of Health, National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Joel H Rubenstein, James M Scheiman, Shahram Sadeghi, David Whiteman, John M Inadomi. Esophageal Adenocarcinoma Incidence in Individuals With Gastroesophageal Reflux: Synthesis and Estimates From Population Studies. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/ajg.2010.470

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Esophageal cancer risk lower than expected for patients with GERD." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101209121429.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2011, January 1). Esophageal cancer risk lower than expected for patients with GERD. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101209121429.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Esophageal cancer risk lower than expected for patients with GERD." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101209121429.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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