April has come and gone, but are you any more aware of your risk of esophageal cancers? We didn’t think so…
Most people think heartburn is harmless, something they have learned to live with, but in reality chronic, frequent heartburn can lead to development of cancer of the esophagus. If you are experiencing heartburn symptoms 2-3 times per week you may actually be experiencing reflux.
Reflux occurs when the lower sphincter muscle in the esophagus does not remain closed tightly and allows the caustic stomach acids to reenter the esophagus. Over time, with repeated exposure, the esophagus becomes scared and damaged. These damaged areas are at greater risk to develop precancerous cells, which left unchecked can become malignant. Chronic reflux can also lead to tooth decay and adult onset asthma – the latter being caused by the individual actually breathing in some of the acid which leads to scarring in the lungs.
That is why the doctors of Southern California Medical Gastroenterology Group take your heartburn very seriously. We want to educate you to recognized when something is going on in your body and give you the proper care and treatment.
Common symptoms of reflux include:
- A sense that there is food stuck behind your chest bone
- Heartburn at least 2 or 3 times per week
- Heartburn symptoms worsen if you bend, stoop over, lay down, or eat.
- Feeling some nausea after eating
Less common symptoms include:
- Food not staying down, all or in part
- Cough or wheezing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Scratchy throat or change in voice
- Chronic sore throat
If you suffer from chronic heartburn it is time to get to the heart of the matter. Make an appointment with one of our specialists and start down a path to wellness.