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A 21-year-old member asked:

i have a hiatal hernia, am i more likely to get gastroesophageal cancer?

5 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Barry Rosen
General Surgery 34 years experience
Slightly higher risk: Barrett's esophagus are cellular changes along the lower lining of the esophagus in response to prolonged acid exposure secondary to reflux. This may be associated with pre-cancerous changes or even esophageal cancer and is believed to explain the rising incidence of these cancers in the US.
Dr. Keith Stockerl-Goldstein
Hematology and Oncology 30 years experience
Increased risj: There is a slightly higher risk for esophageal cancer.
Dr. Nathaniel Evans III
Thoracic Surgery 19 years experience
Very slightly: People with hiatal hernias usually have some gastroesophageal reflux (gerd). Gerd is a risk factor for esophageal cancer. That said, nearly half of the us population has gerd and esophageal cancer although slowly increasing, remains a very rare cancer. If you have reflux you should be followed by a primary care or gastroenterologist, but it is still very unlikely that you will develop cancer.
Dr. Chad Levitt
Radiation Oncology 22 years experience
Barrets esophagus: By definition barrett's esophagus is a form of metaplasia, which is a change in the normal cell type in that portion of the esophagus. It is caused by continual exposure to gastric acid (reflux) into the esophagus and it is the esophagus's way of trying to protect itself for the damaging acid in our stomach. It can lead to cancer and needs to be watched closely. Hiatal hernia can cause reflux.
Dr. Dan Lister
General Surgery 28 years experience
Yes: Chronic reflux is the main cause of esophageal adenocarcinoma. It is the fastest growing cancer in the U.S. Hiatal hernias tend to make reflux worse. The important thing is to have an endoscopy to get checked.

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Last updated Mar 22, 2020

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