An estimated 1 in every 5 American adults suffers from GERD, which is a chronic condition caused by changes in the gastroesophageal valve that allow stomach contents to flow back up into the esophagus. Left untreated, GERD can be a lifelong disease and lead to bothersome symptoms and potentially other life-threatening health conditions. Adenocarcinoma, the type of cancer typically caused by long-term reflux disease or GERD, is increasing at a faster rate than any other cancer in the U.S.
“In my medical experience esophageal cancer is a condition which it is often found when a patient presents with late stage symptoms – the difficulty of swallowing or the regurgitation of food. Usually, the patient has had a long preceding history of heartburn or acid reflux,” said M.D. John S Kim of Coast Plaza Hospital.
GERD is an anatomical issue that occurs when the valve between the stomach and the esophagus is not working properly. Medications or life-style modifications may offer mild symptom control, but they do not stop or prevent reflux. Additionally, those who may become dependent on daily medication can develop severe complications from GERD, even if no symptoms are experienced. When left untreated, GERD can lead to other health complications including: damage to the throat or esophagus, inflammation or narrowing of the esophagus, respiratory complications, Barrett’s Esophagus, and Esophageal Cancer.
The best way to diagnose Barrett’s Esophagus or Esophageal Cancer is to talk to your doctor about your symptoms and determine next steps. Coast Plaza has a highly experienced team of GI physicians and medical staff dedicated to improving the quality of life and health for those suffering from gastrointestinal issues. CPH is also one of the few locations in the county with the technology and expertise to perform the TIF procedure, a highly successful outpatient procedure for those who have found no relief from traditional medications.
Early screening and detection are key. “Increased awareness of risks of esophageal cancer such as chronic heartburn, and judicious use of diagnostic procedures, such as upper gastrointestinal endoscopy or imaging studies should be considered in populations at risk, to better identify disease in the early stages,” said Dr. Kim.
If you or a loved one suffers from GI discomfort, please reach out to us at (562) 868-3751 ext.3031. Coast Plaza Hospital is here for you.
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ABOUT COAST PLAZA HOSPITAL
Coast Plaza Hospital is a 117-acute-bed hospital that has been serving Norwalk and the surrounding areas of Southeast Los Angeles county for over 55 years. It is accredited by the Joint Commission and is a licensed provider for Medicare and Medi-Cal programs, along with many HMOs, PPOs and managed care organizations. The hospital provides affordable, high-quality healthcare with consistency and compassion, and offers a wide range of services, including 24-hour adult and pediatric Emergency Department services, complete intensive care, critical care and progressive care services. For more information visit www.coastplazahospital.com.