Antacids Might Increase Neck and Head Cancer Survival Rates

Antacids Might Increase Neck and Head Cancer Survival RatesHeartburn occurs commonly with radiation and chemotherapy treatments for otolaryngology, or neck and head, cancers. But a new study found that controlling gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) with acid-controlling medications also may improve these patients’ overall survival chances. Antacids are relatively safe drugs that have few if any unpleasant side effects typically. Buy Nexium (Esomeprazole) to reduce the amount of acid that your stomach generates. Discover the easy and convenient ways to place your prescription order.

Positive Outcomes Rise

A research team assessed the effects of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) including Nexium, Prevacid, and Prilosec along with histamine 2 receptor blockers (H2 blockers) like Pepcid, Tagamet, and Zantac on neck or head cancer patients. Study subjects included 596 people with squamous cell carcinomas. Two-thirds used one or both antacid types following their cancer diagnoses. Compared to the one-third of untreated controls, PPIs decreased participants’ death risk by 45 percent while the H2 blocker reduction was 33 percent.

University of Michigan’s researchers suspected that antacids would affect patient outcomes favorably, according to lead study author Dr. Silvana Papagerakis. So their subject review included screening them for typical acid-neutralizing medicines, which proved helpful. Because the scientists couldn’t pinpoint the heartburn treatments’ underlying mechanisms that improved patients’ survival rates, they’ve begun searching for answers.

Patients might take these medications off and on, depending on when acid reflux symptoms occur. The investigators contend that antacids also can help stop cancers from progressing. So extended pharmacological therapy durations might affect cancer survival significantly, Papagerakis added. This study shows that heartburn drugs may provide more benefits than just minimizing cancer treatment side effects. The investigators also plan to examine whether antacids could lower neck and head cancer risks in GERD and precancerous lesion patients.

Cancer Statistics

Annually, about 50,000 Americans receive cancer diagnoses in areas above the shoulders and more than 11,000 don’t survive. For most of these patients, their cancers had already metastasized. Regional nodal involvement occurs in 43 percent while 10 percent have distant metastases. These diverse and uncommon tumors display aggressive biological behaviors frequently. Anotolaryngology cancer history may lead to a second primary tumor. Other statistics include:


Men experience 66 to 95 percent of cancers from the neck up. But 80 percent of Plummer-Vinson syndrome cases occur in women.


Risk raises with age, particularly after 50. Most patients range from 50 to 70, but younger people can develop these cancers as well.


Laryngeal cancer affects more African-Americans than Caucasians, Asians, and Hispanics. The five-year survival rate for all otolaryngology cancers is 34 percent among African-Americans and 56 percent for whites.


High incidences among urban American males may reflect alcohol and tobacco use. Smokeless tobacco (snuff) increases oral cancer risks for rural women.

Risk Factors

Drinking and smoking too much, especially together can kill youAccording to the Cancer Network, these factors increase your head and neck cancer odds:


Tumors occur mostly with tobacco use. Smoking raises the death risk by one percent per pack-year. During radiation treatment, smoking doubles the death risk.

  • Cigarettes:These tumors afflict six times as many cigarette smokers as nonsmokers. The heaviest smokers are 20 times more apt to die from laryngeal cancer. A study found that cancer patients who continue smoking during radiation therapy have double the annual odds of a second primary tumor developing than those who quit or never smoked. Unfiltered cigarettes and air-cured dark tobacco increase risks even more.
  • Cigars:Smoking cigars changes aerodigestive tract cancers’ site distribution. Cancers of the lungs, larynx, and other sites that cigarettes cause happen less with cigars, but cancer rates are higher for other areas like the oropharynx and esophagus where saliva pooling and carcinogen exposure occur.
  • Smokeless tobacco:Chewing snuff increases cancers in your oral cavity, gums, and mucous membranes. Premalignant lesions like oral leukoplakia can develop into invasive carcinomas.

Drinking can lead to laryngeal and pharyngeal tumors. Combining tobacco with alcohol multiplies your risk.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure:

Sunlight can cause lip cancer. At least one-third of these patients work outdoors.

Occupational hazards:

Research has linked nasal cancer to wood dust inhalation and maxillary sinus cancer with nickel exposure.

Radiation exposure:

This thyroid cancer risk factor also may cause salivary gland cancer.


Evidence shows that the Epstein-Barr virus can lead to nasopharyngeal cancer, and HPV may contribute to oropharyngeal cancer.


Otolaryngology cancers don’t cause symptoms always, and other conditions can produce the same signs. Consult your doctor if any of the following symptoms is troubling you:

  • Swelling or sores that won’t heal
  • White or red patch inside your mouth
  • Painful or painless bump, lump, or mass above your shoulders
  • Relentless sore throat
  • Offensive mouth odor despite good hygiene
  • Voice change or hoarseness
  • Ongoing nasal congestion or obstruction
  • Abnormal nasal discharge and/or numerous nose bleeds
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Double vision
  • Weakness or numbness from the neck up
  • Pain or difficulties moving your tongue or jaws, chewing, or swallowing
  • Jaw and/or ear pain
  • Bloody phlegm or saliva
  • Loose teeth
  • Misfitting dentures
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Exhaustion