According to an article published in the American Journal of Medicine, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and smoking increase the risk of developing laryngeal cancer.
Laryngeal cancer is considered a type of head and neck cancer and occurs in the larynx, which may also be referred to as the “voice box”. Smoking and alcohol are thought to increase the risk of laryngeal cancer.
GERD, also referred to as heartburn, is a condition in which the acidic contents of the stomach back up into the esophagus (the tube that connects the throat to the stomach). GERD may be responsible for the irritation of tissues of the esophagus, a condition referred to as Barrett’s esophagus.
Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic recently conducted a study to evaluate potential effects of GERD on laryngeal cancer. This study included 96 patients with laryngeal cancer and 192 patients who did not have laryngeal cancer.
- When considering all variables, smoking was associated with more than a six-fold increase in the development of laryngeal cancer.
- GERD was associated with a two-fold increase of the development of laryngeal cancer.
The researchers concluded that smoking and GERD increase the risk of developing laryngeal cancer. Only future clinical trials can determine if intervention against GERD can help reduce the risk of developing laryngeal cancer.
Patients who smoke or have GERD may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks of developing laryngeal cancer, as well as potential treatments for GERD.
Reference: Vaezi MF, Sepi M, Lopez R, et al. Laryngeal cancer and gastroesophageal reflux disease: a case control study. The American Journal of Medicine. 2006;119:768-776.
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