Untreated heartburn can lead to Barrett's esophagus, adenocarcinoma

Persistent heartburn can cause Barrett's esophagus, which can lead to esophageal cancer if not treated early, health advocates say. "Heartburn is a way of your body telling you there's something wrong," says Dr. Ann Chen, director of endoscopic ultrasound at Stanford University School of Medicine. Minimally invasive surgery can repair anatomical problems that cause chronic acid reflux, potentially preventing Barrett's esophagus, says Dr. Wilson Tsai, co-director of thoracic surgery at John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek, Calif.

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