Harvard Health Letter

Don't let that heartburn go untreated

More people are being diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus. It’s unclear whether this represents a true increase in incidence or improved awareness. Barrett’s is a change in cells in the esophagus that results from frequent acid exposure caused by gastroesophageal reflux (GERD). People with Barrett’s esophagus have a small risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma (a type of esophageal cancer) because the Barrett’s esophagus cells can turn into cancer cells. Middle-aged white men who developed GERD at an early age and have had it for many years are at the highest risk for getting esophageal cancer. 
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