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Health

Head and neck cancer: Acid reflux may raise risk in seniors

Saturday 30/December/2017 - 02:05 PM
Sada El Balad
New research investigates whether the common acid reflux is a risk factor for head and neck cancer in elderly people.
Dr. Edward D. McCoul، at the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans، LA، and colleagues led the new study. Medics today said.

Their findings were published in JAMA Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery.

As they say، cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract (UADT) include malignancies of the larynx، tonsils، and sinuses، among others. Worldwide، these cancers account for more than 800،000 yearly diagnoses of cancer and more than 360،000 yearly deaths.

In the United States، it is estimated that 62،000 people develop head and neck cancers every year، which include oral cavity and larynx malignancies.

There are several factors that are potentially accountable for these cancers، write Dr. McCoul and colleagues، including the use of alcohol and tobacco، viral infections، and chronic inflammation of the upper airways.

But existing studies that have examined the link between the gastroesophageal reflux disease — commonly known as acid reflux or heartburn — and UADT cancers have yielded mixed results.

Additionally، this association has not yet been studied in the elderly U.S. population. So، Dr. McCoul and colleagues set out to examine it.

In the U.S.، it is estimated that acid reflux affects as much as 20 percent of the population. Adults with obesity and the elderly are particularly prone to the condition، studies show.

Acid reflux may raise laryngeal cancer risk
To study the link between head and neck cancers and acid reflux، the researchers examined data on 13،805 people aged 66 and above who had been diagnosed with UADT cancer، as well as 13،805 age- and sex-matched healthy controls.

Dr. McCoul and team obtained the data from the Surveillance، Epidemiology، and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database.

The cancer patients — 3،418 of whom were women — had been diagnosed with "malignancy of the larynx، hypopharynx، oropharynx، tonsil، nasopharynx، and paranasal sinuses." In fact، over 60 percent of the patients had laryngeal cancer.

The study revealed a strong association between acid reflux and cancer of the throat، tonsils، and paranasal sinuses.

Edited by rehab sayed

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