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Acid reflux may raise risk of cancer of
larynx
By Amy Norton
Fri Sep 29, 9:22 AM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People with chronic
stomach
acid reflux may have an increased risk of
developing
cancer of the larynx or "voice box," a study
suggests.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has been
considered a possible risk factor for laryngeal
cancer,
in large part because GERD is common among people
with the cancer.

Some studies have linked the acid-reflux condition to
laryngeal
cancer, but they have suffered from
shortcomings in their methodology, according to the
authors of the new study.

For their study, reported in the American Journal of
Medicine, the researchers compared 96 men and
women with laryngeal cancer to a group of adults
without the disease who were matched to the patients
by age, gender and ethnicity -- three important factors
in laryngeal
cancer risk.

Overall, the study found, people with GERD were twice
as likely as those without the condition to develop
laryngeal
cancer.

The risk was independent of smoking, a
well-established risk factor for the
cancer; smokers in
the study had a six-times greater risk of laryngeal
cancer than non-smokers did.

GERD occurs when the muscle at the bottom of the
esophagus fails to close properly, allowing stomach
acids to leak into the esophagus. The condition is
already linked to a disorder called Barrett's
esophagus, which can in turn lead to esophageal
cancer.

As for whether GERD is in fact a risk factor for
laryngeal cancer, "definitive studies are yet to come,"
said Dr. Michael Vaezi, a gastroenterologist at
Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville and
the study's lead author.

Still, with the current findings, there is growing
evidence that GERD may contribute to the
cancer.

Vaezi told Reuters Health that in an earlier study, he
and his colleagues found that laryngeal cancer
patients who took acid-suppressing medication had
lower odds of the cancer coming back -- an indication,
he noted, that GERD may contribute not only to the
initial development of laryngeal
cancer but to its
recurrence as well.

SOURCE: American Journal of Medicine, September
2006


                                 
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