Digestive Disorders / Gastroenterology Expert Forum
Severe coughing - GERD vs Barrett's
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Severe coughing - GERD vs Barrett's


  I have always heard of a correlation between coughing and many types of cancer. I have a constant hacking cough with my GERD, and I'm afraid I may have esophageal cancer. Is cough more of a symptom of Barrett's, cancer, or just plain reflux....or all three? Are there ANY symptoms of cancer that are NOT present with ordinary GERD? I'm really scared to death and need a little reassurance. I've only been treated for 5-6 weeks, but I feel like some of this hacking would have eased up by now. I suspect I've had it a LONG time but was misdiagnosed as bronchitis. I'm taking 30mg of Prevacid 1x daily. Thanks!!
Dear Rita,
Cough is an atypical manifestation of gastroesophageal reflux. It may be associated with hoarseness or dental problems if due to gastroesophageal reflux. Having a cough does not necessary imply that you have Barrett's esophagus (change of the lining of the lower esophagus) or esophageal cancer. The fact that your cough is improving on lansoprazole (Prevacid) is a good sign. Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus is generally suspected in patients (especially in those over age 45) with long-term gastroesophageal reflux who are losing weight, have difficulty swallowing or have evidence of gastrointestinal bleeding. It is important to note that more recently, a relationship between chronic hoarseness, gastroesophageal reflux, vocal cord polyps and laryngeal cancer has been reported. I hope you find this information helpful. Good luck to you.
This response is being provided for general informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Always check with your personal physician when you have a question pertaining to your health.
If you want to be seen at our institution please call 1-800-653-6568, our Referring Physicians' Office and make an appointment to see Dr. Muszkat, one of our experts in Gastroenterology.
HFHSM.D.-ym
*Keywords: cough, gastroesophageal reflux, esophageal cancer, Barrett's esophagus, laryngeal cancer

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