ANCHOR LEAD: MORE AND MORE CASES OF ESOPHAGEAL CANCER ARE BEING SEEN IN THE US, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Cases of esophageal cancer are rising faster than any other cancer type in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. That’s because chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, more commonly known as heartburn, affects more and more people. Patrick Okolo, a gastroenterologist at Johns Hopkins, says the longer you’ve had heartburn the more you are at risk.
OKOLO: I think once you’re at risk, particularly if you’ve had reflux for more than 10 years, if you’re older than fifty, there are studies that suggest that this might be worse in people who have a white background than others. I think you should talk about it with your doctor. Your risk should be assessed, and if your baseline risk is low then there’s nothing further to do, however, if you’re in a high risk group then you should talk with an experienced gastroenterologist about what to do to modify that risk. :24
Okolo says obesity is a primary risk factor for the development of gastroesophageal reflux disease. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.