Heartburn. It’s a symptom that many people experience on a regular basis. They may not realize that long-term heartburn can put them at risk for esophageal cancer. The esophagus is the long tube that connects the throat to the stomach. Over the long haul, reflux, which is a returning flow of heart burn-causing stomach acid back to the throat, can damage the lining of the esophagus, which can lead to cancer.
Dr. Mark Orringer, professor of thoracic surgery at the University of Michigan and a pioneer in esophageal surgery, has seen a change over the last three decades in the type of patient developing esophageal cancer. Once primarily found in individuals who drank alcohol and smoked excessively, it is now seen in greater numbers with those suffering from obesity, coupled with reflux.
Other risk factors include: