April Is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month

April 20, 2015

Millions of Americans suffer heartburn every day—often without realizing the unpleasant, but common occurrence could lead to more serious health issues, such as esophageal cancer. 

Heartburn is the most common symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a chronic, often progressive disease resulting from a weak muscle in the esophagus.  The weakened muscle allows harmful stomach acid and bile to splash up from the stomach into the esophagus, often causing heartburn, chest pain, regurgitation, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, sore throat and cough.  If left untreated, GERD can lead to serious complications like Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer.  Not only are esophageal cancer cases on the rise but it is also one of the top three most deadly cancers in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society.  In fact, it is estimated more than 17,000 people will be diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2015.

“Many of the patients I see have spent years taking medications to reduce their GERD symptoms, never knowing that other options are available to essentially cure the disease,” says Casey Graybeal, MD, a surgeon with the Heartburn and Swallowing Center of Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (NGPG) Surgical Associates.

Dr. Graybeal performs more than 100 procedures for GERD each year at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Georgia’s #1 Surgery Hospital according to CareChex®.  To learn more about Dr. Graybeal’s treatment options for GERD, visit www.curemygerd.com.



Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (NGPG) brings together more than 250 talented physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, midwives and other clinical staff representing more than 20 specialties at more than 80 locations across North Georgia.  Learn more at www.ngpg.org.

NGPG is affiliated with Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS), which serves more than 800,000 people in more than 13 counties across the region.  As part of NGHS, patients of NGPG have a direct connection to Northeast Georgia Medical Center – Georgia’s #1 Hospital (CareChex®) and one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals (Truven Health Analytics®).  Learn more at www.nghs.com.