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. Patients with heartburn should speak with their physicians about their symptoms to find out if an upper endoscopy is indicated to look for Barrett's or other conditions of the upper GI tract.

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