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What Are the Complications of Heartburn and GERD?

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Does Barrett's Esophagus Cause Cancer?

Barrett's esophagus may lead to esophageal cancer. That happens in less than 1% of people with Barrett's esophagus. But because of the cancer risk, people with Barrett's esophagus need regular checkups of their esophagus.

What Are Strictures of the Esophagus?

Sometimes, the damaged lining of the esophagus becomes scarred, which narrows the esophagus. These narrow places, which doctors call “strictures,” can make it harder for food and drinks to reach the stomach.

Doctors can use tools to gently stretch strictures to widen the esophagus.

What Is Esophageal Cancer?

This is cancer that starts in the esophagus. Although GERD makes it slightly more likely, in most people, GERD does not lead to cancer.

You are more likely to get esophageal cancer if you have Barrett's esophagus, smoke, are a heavy drinker, or are overweight or obese. People who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables may be less likely to get it.  

What Are the Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer?

Esophageal cancer in its early stages often has no symptoms. Unexplained weight loss and trouble with swallowing are the most common symptoms. As the cancer grows, it narrows the esophagus, which makes it harder and more painful to swallow.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on September 23, 2015
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