Kim Kardashian’s Esophageal Cancer Question to Dr. Oz
This photo shows the endoscopic appearance of an early and easily treatable esophageal cancer. In this case, endoscopy was done through the nose, with the patient awake, comfortable, and without anesthesia using a relatively new technique called transnasal esophagoscopy (see reference below). When detected early, this stage of esophageal cancer is curable. Obviously, endoscopy is a must for early detection. Patients with significant reflux symptoms (even people without heartburn) should have screening esophagoscopy performed.
Recently, Kim Kardashian was on the Dr. Oz show to ask him about the relationship between acid reflux and esophageal cancer. Her father, Robert Kardashian, had indigestion all of his life, and he died of esophageal cancer in 2003. Here is the clip from the “Dr. Oz” show.
Acid reflux is epidemic and esophageal cancer, which is caused by acid reflux, is currently the nation’s fastest growing cancer with an incidence rate that’s jumped an astounding 500% in the last 30 years. As Kim Kardashian told it, her father suffered from reflux all of his life and took over-the-counter medications 5-7 times daily. Dr. Oz suggested that the medicines Mr. Kardashian took may have disguised the disease by taking away his pain. Sometimes, however, people with severe reflux don’t have indigestion or any pain at all. In fact, people with cough, hoarseness, and sore throat who have “silent reflux” (no chest pain, heartburn, or indigestion) are just as likely to develop esophageal cancer as those who have classic GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
Incidentally, people who are rightfully worried about cancer deserve to be checked. The technology has changed. Doctors can now look inside while patients are awake, comfortable, and without pain, using a technique called transnasal esophagoscopy. The idea that you can only be checked for cancer in a special facility and under anesthesia is archaic.
During the TV segment, Dr. Oz asked how many people had acid reflux, and a lot of the audience raised their hands. We now know that 40% of the American population has acid reflux disease. Of those 22% have classic GERD and another 18% have silent reflux. That’ translates to about 122 million Americans. It’s remarkable!
While Dr. Oz did well to explain how reflux affects and harms the esophagus, he did not delve into the issue of diet, which we feel is at the core of the reflux epidemic. It’s acid, acid, acid. On this website, and in our book, Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook and Cure, we explore the dietary elements in a way that might potentially save the lives of people like Robert Kardashian. Through treatment and diet, we have healed many people who have suffered from reflux-related esophageal disease. Our hope is to heal many more. Have a look at the “Dropping Acid” book trailer.