According to a study, there may be an increased risk of cancer of the larynx in people with chronic stomach acid reflux.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is widespread in cancer patients. So, it is considered to be a potential risk factor for laryngeal cancer.
The researchers conducted a comparison study of 96 men and women with laryngeal cancer with their counterparts without the disease. The latter matched the former in the 3 vital aspects of laryngeal cancer risk: age, gender and ethnicity.
The study was published in the American Journal of Medicine.
The study results revealed that the risk of development of laryngeal cancer was 2-times high in people with GERD than those without that disorder. These findings are independent of smoking, another potential risk factor for cancer. The study results also revealed that the risk of laryngeal cancer was 6-times higher in smokers than their non-smoking counterparts.
The improper closure of the esophagus results in leakage of stomach acids into it. This leads to GERD. This is in turn associated with a disorder called Barrett's esophagus can result in esophageal cancer.
As for whether GERD is in fact a risk factor for laryngeal cancer, "definitive studies are yet to come," said Dr Michael Vaezi, a gastroenterologist at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre in Nashville and the study's lead author.
Still, with the current findings, there is growing evidence that GERD may contribute to the cancer.
Dr Vaezi said, "In an earlier study, we found that laryngeal cancer patients who took acid-suppressing medication had lower odds of the cancer coming back - an indication, that GERD may contribute not only to the initial development of laryngeal cancer but to its recurrence as well."