Did you know that heart burn can cause esophageal cancer? A recent survey found that 86% of Americans are unaware of the connection, according to the Esophageal Cancer Action Network (ECAN). The group wants to change that. On May 1, 2017 ECAN filed a petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking the agency to require that over-the-counter (OTC) heartburn medications carry a warning about the link between heartburn and cancer, and the fact that the drugs do not eliminate that risk.
Heartburn and Cancer
Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) can cause Barrett’s esophagus, in which there are changes in the tissues lining the esophagus. Barrett’s esophagus is a precancerous condition. If you develop it, you need routine monitoring so that any cancer can be detected early, when treatment is likely to be successful.
Barrett’s esophagus often goes undetected. Persistent heartburn, meaning heartburn that occurs two to three times a week, is a sign that you may have the condition.
Heartburn medications, such as Nexium (esomeprazole) and Prilosec (omeprazole), are very effective at treating the symptoms of GERD, but they do not eliminate the cancer risk. When people take the meds, and get rid of the symptoms, they think the problem is solved and everything is fine. But, cellular changes may have already occurred.
If you have developed esophageal cancer after using heartburn medication, please talk to an experienced defective drug attorney right away to learn more about your rights and potential compensation.