From Our Archives

Esophageal Cancer Linked to Heartburn

Medical Revising Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD

Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common type of cancer and causes 12,000 deaths per year in the U.S. (2% of all cancer deaths). One type of esophageal cancer, adenocarcinoma, accounts for 50% of esophageal cancers and occurs primarily in Caucasian men. The incidence of adenocarcinoma and deaths from esophageal cancer have been increasing steadily in the U.S. and western Europe.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which acid refluxes from the stomach into the esophagus (known primarily for causing heartburn) is a condition that afflicts 20% of the populations of the U.S. and western Europe.

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