Released on Nov 13, 2018

ASGE encourages chronic heartburn sufferers to be checked; medical advances can now help doctors prevent progression to cancer

DOWNERS GROVE, IL – November 13, 2018 – For the millions of Americans suffering from chronic heartburn, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) wants you to think differently about your condition.  Everyday symptoms may lead to something far more serious – changes in the cells lining your esophagus that could lead to a common form of esophageal cancer, one of the most rapidly growing cancers in America.  Even if you take medication for your heartburn symptoms, disease can still develop.

There is more reason than ever to take action.  Gastroenterologists can now more reliably detect these cellular changes when they are still completely harmless, and also more easily treat or remove them, preventing progression to actual cancer.

“Esophageal cancer can develop in patients with longstanding chronic heartburn.  It is one of the fastest-growing cancers in the United States, and one of the most rapidly growing causes of cancer deaths in the world,” said Steven A. Edmundowicz, MD, FASGE, President of ASGE and Professor of Medicine and Interim Division Director of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, Colorado.  “Due to recent advances in endoscopy and specialized testing, esophageal cancer can be prevented.” 

Adenocarcinoma is the most common form of esophageal cancer in the U.S. and affects primarily white men over age 55.1 It is a growing health concern that is expected to increase in incidence over the next 10 years.2  Experts attribute this to the rise of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the most common symptom of which is heartburn, associated with obesity and a high-stress lifestyle.2     

While most patients with chronic heartburn will never develop esophageal cancer, it is a risk factor for developing the disease.   Taking over-the-counter or even prescription medication to treat the symptoms of chronic heartburn does not always prevent the development of esophageal cancer. 

“There are plenty of men with chronic heartburn who find themselves reaching for a pepperoni pizza with one hand and their heartburn medicine with the other. We want to encourage people with chronic heartburn, particularly white men over the age of 50, to see a gastroenterologist and be screened for pre-cancerous cells,” continued Dr. Edmundowicz.  “Everyone deserves the best possible protection against developing esophageal cancer.” 

Visit www.PreventHeartburnCancer.org for information.  For help finding a gastroenterologist near you, visit  www.asge.org/home/for-patients.

The campaign is sponsored by ASGE and funded through a partnership with CDx Diagnostics®, the provider of WATS3D® testing used to help doctors find still harmless but precancerous cells.

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REFERENCES

1. American Cancer Society:  https://www.cancer.org/cancer/esophagus-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html

2 Kyle J Napier, Mary Scheerer, Subhasis Misra, Esophageal cancer: A Review of epidemiology, pathogenesis, staging workup and treatment modalities; World J Gastrointest Oncol. 2014 May 15; 6(5): 112–120. Published online 2014 May 15. doi: 10.4251/wjgo.v6.i5.112   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4021327/ Accessed 11 October  2018

3. Hoffman M, Haines CD. Esophageal Cancer On the Rise. 2013. Available from:http://www.webmd.com/cancer/features/esophageal-cancer-rise.





About Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures allow the gastroenterologist to visually inspect the upper gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach and duodenum) and the lower bowel (colon and rectum) through an endoscope, a thin, flexible device with a lighted end and a powerful lens system. Endoscopy has been a major advance in the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. For example, the use of endoscopes allows the detection of ulcers, cancers, polyps and sites of internal bleeding. Through endoscopy, tissue samples (biopsies) may be obtained, areas of blockage can be opened and active bleeding can be stopped. Polyps in the colon can be removed, which has been shown to prevent colon cancer.

About the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
Since its founding in 1941, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) has been dedicated to advancing patient care and digestive health by promoting excellence and innovation in gastrointestinal endoscopy. ASGE, with more than 15,000 members worldwide, promotes the highest standards for endoscopic training and practice, fosters endoscopic research, recognizes distinguished contributions to endoscopy, and is the foremost resource for endoscopic education. Visit www.asge.org and www.screen4coloncancer.org for more information and to find a qualified doctor in your area.

American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
3300 Woodcreek Drive Downers Grove, IL 60515
P (630) 573-0600
F (630) 963-8332
 www.asge.org
 www.screen4coloncancer.org

Media Contact

Gina Steiner
Director of Communications
630.570.5635;gsteiner@asge.org