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Webinar: When Acid Reflux Leads to Esophageal Cancer

April 20, 2021

While relatively rare, chronic acid reflux does more than pose an annoyance – it can actually increase your chances of developing a condition associated with a higher risk of esophageal cancer. Reflux is the churning of stomach acids in the lower portion of the esophagus, the muscular tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach. The esophagus, unlike the stomach, is not protected against the harsh acids by a lining and reflux can cause damage to tissue cells there for a condition called Barrett’s esophagus. These can sometimes develop into precancerous cells. “Most people with reflux symptoms will develop Barrett’s esophagus but most of the time, it will not lead to cancer,” said Dr. David Chaletsky, a gastroenterologist with the Hartford HealthCare Digestive Health Center. “However, the risk is compounded when reflux and Barrett’s esophagus are not monitored and treated adequately.” This is just one topic he and Dr. Mario Katigbak, a thoracic surgeon with the Digestive Health Center, will discuss April 27 at a free live webinar, “Understanding Esophageal Cancer,” to mark Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month in April. They will talk about:

  • How acid reflux affects esophageal cancer.
  • Tips for preventing esophageal cancer.
  • How this type of cancer is diagnosed and treatment options.
The first sign of esophageal cancer, according to Dr. Chaletsky, is generally difficulty swallowing, which worsens as the tumor grows and obstructs more of the esophagus. Other symptoms can include:
  • Weight loss, which is connected to the difficulty swallowing.
  • Hoarseness.
  • Chronic cough.
  • Increased indigestion or heartburn.
Besides the informational presentation, Drs. Katigbak and Chaletsky will conduct a live question-and-answer session with webinar participants and invite comments from a live panel of esophageal cancer survivors. This presentation, “Understanding Esophageal Cancer,” is a collaboration between the Digestive Health Center and the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute on Tuesday, April 27, from 5-6 p.m. To register, please call 1.855.HHC.HERE (1.855.442.4373) or click here. After you register, you’ll receive an email with easy instructions on joining the webinar.