DEAR DR. ROACH: I have some questions about GERD. I was diagnosed 16 years ago and was put on many medications, but I either got side effects or they didn’t work. I made up my mind to watch my diet carefully. That has worked well most of the time, but about six weeks ago I started experiencing burning and pain again. I tried eliminating different foods in my diet, but it wasn’t working. I visited my primary care doctor and he prescribed sucralfate, four times a day, along with omeprazole twice a day. I’ve been this treatment a short time, and see a hint of improvement. I don’t understand why I went all these years with little pain and all of a sudden I feel like I’m back to square one. The nurse practitioner in the same office said they are thinking GERD is seasonal, just like allergies, and that it should go away. I am very frustrated. I really don’t want to have surgery. — A. ANSWER: I can’t tell you why, but I do see people getting exacerbations that last for a few days or weeks, and then they go back to being fine. The nurse practitioner knew something I didn’t, because I found evidence that GERD symptoms are statistically worse from October to December. Maybe it has to do with the foods eaten more commonly at that time of the year. That being said, look at any new medications (many can worsen GERD);
consider weight loss if yours has gone up; and make sure you are eating a good three hours before bed. Alcohol and tobacco are bad for many things, including GERD. Finally, sometimes serious conditions can look like GERD. If symptoms persist, your primary care doctor may send you to a gastroenterologist for an endoscopy. The booklet on acid refl ux explains GERD. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Roach — No. 501W, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.
DEAR DR. ROACH: I am 70 years old, and three and a half months ago, my ENT found a malignant sarcoma at the base of my tongue on the right side. They also found a hint of cancer in the lymph node near the tumor. On Friday I finish up an eight-week treatment of radiation and chemotherapy. My question is what my risk might be for developing
other cancers in the future, assuming that this tumor has been eradicated? — J.K. ANSWER: Congratulations to you and your doctor for his diligence, and I hope your recovery goes well.
In general, cancers are more common in people who have had cancer before. The rate of developing second cancers depends on the specific type. There’s not a lot written about second cancer after head and
neck sarcoma, but what I found suggests that the risk is not terribly high. In general, the younger you are when you develop the first cancer, the higher the risk of a second.
©2015 North America Synd.