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Heartburn Medication Found to Double Risk of Stomach Cancer

New research suggests proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) may double the risk of stomach cancer.

In a study published in Gut, study authors further discuss how those who took PPI’s for more than a year were at 5 times increased risk for stomach cancer. Those who took them chronically for 2 years were at 6 times increased risk, and those on PPI’s consistently for 3-4 years were at 8 times increased risk for stomach cancer.

As opposed to being forms of calcium carbonate, such as acid neutralizers such as Tums, or H2 (Histamine H2 Antagonist) blockers such as Pepcid and Zantac, the PPI’s reduce stomach acid production from the start.  They’re sold under the brand names of Prilosec, Prevacid, Protonix and Nexium.  They’re popularity has been skyrocketing over the last two decades and have become a mainstay treatment for multiple gastrointestinal issues including ulcers.

According to the study authors from the University of Hong Kong and University College of London, the PPI’s help kill Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers and cancer.  But use beyond the healing up’d the risk significantly. Those who took H2 blockers did not appear to be at increased risk.

They recommend against “unnecessary long term use.”

According to, 28,000 people (17,750 men and 10,250 women) in the US this year alone will be diagnosed with stomach cancer.  10,960 deaths from the disease will occur this year.

This is a developing story.

Foods that cause reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux disease can be caused by foods difficult to digest like processed foods, sugars, and those with refined carbohydrates.



Foods that help relieve acid reflux

They following may help relieve acid reflux symptoms:




Aloe vera





Lean turkey and chicken


Here’s another chart that shows foods that may help or trigger reflux:

reflux foods

Elevating the bed 45 degrees at night helps reduce reflux symptoms.

Avoiding drinking lots of water before sleep helps as well.

Eating smaller meals and avoiding a large dinner at bedtime will decrease acid reflux.

So why take medication at all?

Those suffering from GERD can be prone to esophageal cancer if the stomach acid bombarding the lower esophagus fails to be subdued.  Acid reflux can also cause chronic sore throat and chronic cough.  For these reasons, PPIs will still be recommended for severe reflux cases, but maybe lower doses and combinations with other drugs and lifestyle changes should be started first.


Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network and Board Certified Family Physician


Nationally Syndicated Radio Host, Board Certified Family Medicine Physician, Author

2 thoughts on “Heartburn Medication Found to Double Risk of Stomach Cancer

  1. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be really
    something which I think I would never understand.

    It seems too complicated and very broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

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