According to a new study, experiencing frequent heartburn in non-drinkers and non-smokers may be linked to cancers of the vocal cord and throat. Heartburn refers to an uncomfortable warm and burning sensation in the chest that is usually experienced behind the breastbone. This discomfort usually comes in waves.
Scott M Langevin, postdoctoral research fellow at Brown University in US said that several studies in the past examined gastric reflux and cancers related to the head and neck and generated mixed results. He added that most of the studies either had few numbers of cases or were not adjusted for confounding factors. This current study is large, population-based with strong parameters that strongly pint point to gastric reflux which causes frequent heartburn, and is an independent risk factor for cancers related to the pharynx and larynx. To do the study, Langevin along with his colleagues identifies 631 patients from a large group of individuals who enrolled in a population-based, case-control study in the greater part of Boston area. Of the 631 participants, 468 had throat cancer and 163 had cancers related to the vocal cord. 1234 more persons matched for age and gender with no history of cancer to serve as controls for the study.
The participants were given a questionnaire on their history of heartburn, drinking and smoking habits, family history of cancer along with sociodemographic information. It was found that among participants who were neither heavy smokers nor heavy drinkers, a history of frequent heartburns was linked to 78 per cent increased risk
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