Preventative Medicine – Esophagus, Esophageal Cancer
Being proactive towards your own preventative Medicine will provide you rewards. The Esophagus conditions and Esophageal Cancer can not be ignored.
As part of my business is Health related, I often see when preventative care has revealed an unknown problem. The Medicare Advantage plans that I represent are accepted at The Villages Health centers. Medicare Advantage plans and The Villages Health Care are advocates of prevention. I will discuss 2 medical conditions, on separate pages, where prevention has saved their lives.
You have heard the adage that your body will tell you when something is wrong. Very often that is true. Your part is to listen.
Almost everyone has experienced Heart Burn. We take an antacid such as Rolaids or Tums and continue on. That in it’s self is fine. If the Heart Burn continues it may no longer be as simple as Heart Burn. Acid Reflux will give the same symptoms. Notably when you recline after a heavy or spicy meal. The same condition also is confused with a Heart Attack, as the symptoms are similar. For Acid Reflux, medical and dietary attention is required.
When more attention is needed
Heart problems MUST BE VERIFIED BY A DOCTOR. The Doctor will confirm or deny that the heart is OK. If the treatment for Acid Reflux does not resolve the problem. The Doctor has eliminated the heart as a problem. Then you need to continue looking.
The same symptom such as discomfort in the chest and shortness of breath can also be something much more serious.
Within the Esophagus, several things can go wrong. Most are irritating to live with, while others can be deadly. Barrett’s Esophagus is one condition that may occur and it is treatable.
If the treatment does not resolve the problem, you may need to seek another Doctor. Doctors are human as anyone else. If your Doctor becomes complacent and only treats your condition as heart burn, you need to have a specialist involved. Your family Doctor is fine for the treatment of Acid Reflux, unless the treatment is not sufficient. THEN you need to progress to seeing a specialist.
The specialist will determine the cause of the problem. It may be simple to work with. Left unattended and disregarded as only acid reflux, it can potentially lead to Barrett’s Esophagus or Esophageal Cancer. The problem with this particular form of cancer is that it’s seldom detected until the later stages. Less than 1% of patents are detected with this cancer. Because it is seldom detected, it becomes real serious and life threatening. It is the 6th most common cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Mainly because it was not detected.
In Summary. The symptoms for heart burn can be masking other, more potentially serious health conditions. The detection is progressive. Starting with the Rolaids and continuing onward from there. DO NOT become complacent with your care. If you are still having problems, change doctors for a second opinion. I am not saying to become irrational, but to be proactive in finding the exact cause of your discomfort. As I said earlier, your body will tell you when something is wrong. The same concept, if you feel you are not getting the results with one Doctor, ask another.
Richard Goodrum, RICP®