Silent Reflex and Esophageal Cancer

By: Kelly Warf, Au.D.
Alexander Goldin, M.D.

What do Humphrey Bogart and Eddie Van Halen have in common? Esophageal Cancer.
The esophagus is a long, hollow tube that extends from the back of the throat to the stomach helping to move food from the mouth to the digestive system. Cancer of the esophagus may be attributed to tobacco, alcohol, poor nutritional habits, and obesity. Esophageal cancer can also stem from silent reflux.

Silent reflux is when stomach content refluxes into the throat; while this is similar to GERD, silent reflux does present differently; the similarities and differences will be explored in a later blog post. Chronic acid reflux can increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer.

The symptoms of silent reflux and esophageal cancer are compared below:

Symptoms of silent reflux:

  • difficulty swallowing
  • difficulty getting food down
  • burning or soreness in the throat
  • bitter taste in the mouth
  • asthma
  • chronic postnasal drip
  • coughing
  • breathing issues

Esophageal Cancer symptoms:

  • difficulty swallowing
  • increased heartburn
  • coughing or hoarseness
  • uncontrolled weight loss
  • chest pain, pressure, or burning
  • worsening indigestion

As you can see, there is much overlap in the symptoms between the two. Thus, early detection and management of silent reflux is key in prevention of esophageal cancer.

To ensure that we diagnosis your reflux early, come see us at the Ear, Nose, and Throat Center. Schedule your appointment today, call 847-685-1000.

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