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A 34-year-old female asked:

How can you tell the difference between hiatal hernia/gerd symptoms and esophageal cancer symptoms?

3 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Fink
Family Medicine 40 years experience
You might not know: Having severe gerd symptoms for many years can cause an increased risk of esophageal cancer from the long-term effects of stomach acid. If over-the-counter medications and lifestyle changes don't improve someone's gerd symptoms, an upper endoscopy (looking into the esophagus and stomach with a fiberoptic tube) should be done to look for pre-cancerous changes in the lining of the esophagus.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Eric Kaplan
Colon and Rectal Surgery 43 years experience
You can't: But a gastroenterologist can! so for either of the above you need a diagnosis and proper treatment. Untreated gerd can lead to esophageal cancer! so don't self diagnose but see the experts!
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Dr. Michael Sawyer
General Surgery 37 years experience
Get scoped: Symptoms cannot usually differentiate these entities until esophageal cancer is far advanced. If you have had gerd symptoms for a few years, upper endoscopy may be indicated. Consult with a gastroenterologist or surgeon.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Mar 22, 2020

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