Nexium may help prevent mutation linked to cancer

An effective acid reflux medication, Nexium may be useful in combating a mutation that scientists say may cause cancer.

An effective acid reflux medication, Nexium, may be useful in combating a mutation that scientists say may cause cancer. 

Esophageal cancer originates at the junction of the stomach and the esophagus, and a  new study from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute suggests that the malignancy could be linked to heartburn caused by acid reflux. 

After taking tissue samples from patients with the particular form of cancer, researchers noticed a series of genetic mutations that indicated they were cause by acid reflux. Dana-Farber's study paper reported that the mutations found in the damaged genes and proteins may be more susceptible to cancer cell growth. 

"Gastric reflux can produce this type of damage, suggesting that reflux may underlie this pattern of mutations," said Adam Bass, M.D., the co-author of the paper commented.

Bass and other Dana-Farber researchers indicated that esophageal cancer cases are increasing in prevalence, and speculated that high obesity rates could be the reason, based on their findings. They said heavy abdomens can put pressure on the stomach, which is a root cause of increased acid backup in the throat and esophagus.

Further studies may come regarding acid reflux and its possible connection to cancer. These will hopefully lead to more effective treatments for the disease, which is one of the deadliest forms of cancer.

EAC statistics
According to the National Cancer Institute, only 16.9 percent of? esphageal cancer patients live more than five years past their initial diagnosis. Once the cancer has metastasized, the five-year survival rate drops to 3.4 percent. 

More worrying for doctors in the United States is that rates have been slowly increasing since 1975 when 4.2 out of every 100,000 persons developed the illness, according to the National Cancer Institute. In 2004, every 5.2 out of 100,000 had the disease.

Cancer experts at Dana-Farber indicated that heavy tobacco and alcohol use can increase the risk of developing cancer. Also, males have a higher risk of developing the deadly disease, with African-American males particularly vulnerable. Pain behind the breastbone and difficulty swallowing are two common signs of esophageal cancer.

As suggested by the Dana-Farber scientists, managing the symptoms and effects of acid reflux could help prevent the spread of EAC in those suffering from acid reflux.

Nexium is one drug that has a record of success in helping patients manage the symptoms of acid reflux. For Americans looking for low-cost prescriptions, a Canadian online pharmacy will provide the same drugs as an American one at a fraction of the cost.