Esophageal Cancer Rate On The Rise


Most people think that heartburn is just a nuisance and chewing on some antacid tablets will “cure” it.

But for nearly one third of heartburn sufferers in America, these heartburn symptoms simply don’t go away, actually may be diagnosed as a significant life-altering condition known as Gastresophageal Reflux Disease (or “GERD”) and can even lead to cancer of the esophagus if ignored and left untreated.

April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month, designated to increase attention for one of the most deadly malignancies in existence which also is increasing in frequency. Since 1975, cancer of the esophagus has increased by almost 800 percent.

The Heartburn Treatment Center at Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital opened last year and gives area residents and their physicians a specialized center right inside the hospital that focuses on the accurate diagnosis of GERD using state-of-the-art diagnostic services and provides comprehensive treatment strategies. For more information on diagnosis and treatment of GERD, or to make an appointment, contact Rebecca Craig, RN, nurse coordinator of The Heartburn Treatment Center at Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital, at (330) 308-3595.

“GERD is a significant problem that is extremely common and should not be ignored,” said Dr. Jack E. Kehl III of UPS Regional Surgical Specialists at Dover, one of the team of physicians at the hospital who has received special training to provide individual treatment strategies and procedures at The Heartburn Treatment Center at Union Hospital. “GERD is the most common gastrointestinal disease that exists and needs to be treated individually.”

Dr. Kehl said that people concerned about GERD and esophageal cancer can take the simple “Heartburn Quiz” to determine their potential need to schedule a consultation at The Heartburn Treatment Center at Union Hospital.

  • Do you get a burning feeling the middle of your chest?
  • Does the burning feeling gets worse when you lie down?
  • Do over-the-counter medicines such as acid reducers or antacids help the burning go away?
  • Do you frequently regurgitate (burp up) your food?
  • Is there a bitter or sour taste in the back of your throat?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, there is a good chance you have GERD and should consider seeking an evaluation, Dr. Kehl said.

“While some over-the-counter medications can provide relief and make you feel better, most people do not realize that their reflux continues and that the real problem has not been addressed,” Dr. Kehl said. “The most important thing is to understand that GERD is a serious, lifetime disease often causing severe symptoms and carrying a cancer risk with it. Getting a proper evaluation as well as education about your GERD is essential for obtaining proper treatment.”

Additional details about GERD and The Heartburn Treatment Center at Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital are available on the hospital website at

Information about Cleveland Clinic Union Hospital and all of its services available to the community is available on the hospital website at, and on the hospital’s pages on Facebook and Twitter (@Union_Hospital).


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