Within the past couple of years, we’ve lost some of the most iconic rock stars of a generation. These two, Eddie Money and Eddie Van Halen, had one thing in common that you might not have known: esophageal cancer. In terms of the cause of their cancer, there are various culprits to look at, but not everyone lives those same lifestyles. For many, esophageal cancer comes out of nowhere. We’re here to tell you it doesn’t come from nowhere, and that it comes unknowingly from silent reflux.
You might think you’re not one to suffer from reflux. That’s never been a struggle for you. But what if it is?
According to the USA Today article about Eddie Money, he knew something was wrong when he couldn’t keep food down, but the doctor’s diagnosis still shocked him. At that point, it was too late. But esophageal cancer doesn’t have to be a reality for anyone else that might suffer from reflux.
Healthline states, “As its name suggests, silent reflux causes few symptoms. Most people with silent reflux do not experience heartburn. Unlike silent reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) causes some symptoms.” (Holland, 2018).
Silent Reflux Symptoms
So, if there are few silent reflux symptoms, what are they? Keep in mind that some of these symptoms do crossover into GERD territory as well, so receiving a proper diagnosis from a professional is the best step to take. At our offices in Atlanta, we perform what’s called a transnasal esophagoscopy, TNE for short. It’s a simple method for analyzing the health of someone’s throat.
Here are a few symptoms:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty getting food down
- Burning or soreness in the throat
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Chronic postnasal drip
- Breathing issues
Obviously, as you can see, most of these symptoms can relate to other conditions, but if you’re seeing a pattern of these silent reflux symptoms, it’s time to get looked at.
So, what can you do about it? There are a few ways to prevent and self-remedy silent reflux. Here’s a shortlist:
- Quit smoking
- Quit drinking
- Limit portions
- Lay elevated in bed
- Certain foods can help
These are temporary remedies for your silent reflux symptoms. Finding a permanent solution happens with a diagnosis from a medical professional.
Now that we’re through with the reflux side of things, it’s time to explore esophageal cancer and esophageal cancer symptoms.
Esophageal Cancer Symptoms
Hopefully, many people will recognize their reflux before they recognize esophageal cancer symptoms, preventing a difficult disease much earlier in the process. Unfortunately, that will not always be the case. The following symptoms are from the Mayo Clinic:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Increased heartburn
- Uncontrolled weight loss
- Chest pain
Never hurts to get looked at, even if it ends up being nothing.
Preventing Esophageal Cancer
You might see a pattern with these prevention tips and the silent reflux remedies.
- Quit smoking
- Quit drinking alcohol
- Eat healthier (more fruits and veggies)
- Remain a healthy weight
See the correlation between preventing silent reflux symptoms and stopping esophageal cancer? There’s a reason there’s a crossover there.
Just how deadly is esophageal cancer?
According to Cancer.net, “This year, an estimated 18,440 adults (14,350 men and 4,090 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with esophageal cancer,” (Cancer.net, 2020). They continue with, “It is estimated that 16,170 deaths (13,100 men and 3,070 women) from this disease will occur this year. Esophageal cancer is the seventh most common cause of cancer death among men.”
There is good news, though, in that the survival rate percentage has gone up quite a bit since the 1970s. What was once a 5% survival rate has grown to 20%. Although the latter number still seems low, it’s a large increase from where it was first recorded.
With new technologies for diagnosis and treatment, catching the disease quickly and taking care of it earlier means saving more lives.
To ensure that we diagnose your reflux early, come see us at the Ear, Nose & Throat Institute. We offer same-day and Saturday appointments with walk-ins available. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 770-740-1860 or click on the button below to schedule an appointment.
- Holland, K. (2018, August 20) What You Should Know About Silent Reflux [Medical Article] Retrieved on October 12th, 2020 from https://www.healthline.com/health/silent-reflux#symptoms
- Gonzalez, S., Griggs, B. (2020, October 7) Eddie Van Halen, renowned guitarist, dies at 65 after cancer battle [News Article] Retrieved on October 12th, 2020
- Ryan, P. (September 13, 2019) Eddie Money: Rocker discusses his cancer on reality-TV show [News Article] Retrieved on October 12th, 2020 from https://www.usatoday.com/story/entertainment/tv/2019/09/13/eddie-money-late-rocker-discussed-his-cancer-reality-tv-show-real-money/2311455001/
- Dresden, D. (2018, July 25) Silent reflux: Symptoms, treatment, and natural remedies [Medical Website] Retrieved on October 13th, 2020 from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314531
- Mayo Staff Clinic (2020, October 13) Esophageal cancer – Symptoms and causes [Medical Website] Retrieved on October 13th, 2020 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/esophageal-cancer/symptoms-causes/syc-20356084
- Cancer.net (2020, 01) Esophageal Cancer: Statistics [Medical Blog] Retrieved on October 14th, 2020 from https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/esophageal-cancer/statistics#:~:text=Esophageal%20cancer%20is%20the%20seventh,with%20esophageal%20cancer%20is%2020%25.