Even though drugs and treatments are always tested extensively before being released for the general public, it does happen sometimes to find these sort of unexpected interactions, where one medicine helps with a totally different condition.
A multinational study compiling data from more than 50 years of medical reports discovered this surprising connection between gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) treatment and esophageal adenocarcinoma. More than 930.000 patients from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, who either underwent antireflux surgery (48.414) or were treated with GERD medication only (894.492), were observed through follow-ups.
In the western world, it is estimated that somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of the population develops GERD. This digestive disorder affects the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), basically the muscle connecting the esophagus and stomach. The backwash can irritate the lining of the canal causing discomfort.
Of the patients treated with drugs, 0.3 percent were recorded as developing cancer of the esophagus, while among those patients that had surgery, 0.4 developed the same condition. In both groups, there were noticeable reductions in risk after treatment.
The article concluded that “medical and surgical treatment of GERD was associated with a similar reduced esophageal adenocarcinoma risk, with the risk decreasing to the same level as that in the background population over time, supporting the hypothesis that effective treatment of GERD might prevent esophageal adenocarcinoma.”
While results do show a link, it is important to mention that it does not automatically mean that people should start getting this treatment as a preventive measure. If you are worried about either condition, one simple and natural way, known to lower risk for both, is losing weight.