Are Some Heartburn Meds Tied to Stomach Cancer?

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Who knew that heartburn could lead to head and neck cancer? Now stomach cancer too? New research suggests popping certain heartburn drugs like their candy might up your odds of stomach cancer. The risk was proportionate to how long and how often these drugs, called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), were taken. That risk increased anywhere from two to eight times, study authors said.

Although the relative risk seems high, the absolute risk was small. But it was statistically significant, especially for people infected with Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria linked to stomach cancer, researchers explained.

“While PPIs are one of the most commonly used medications for treating reflux disease as well as dyspepsia, clinicians should exercise caution when prescribing long-term PPIs, even to patients who have H. pylori-eradicated,” said lead researcher Dr. Wai Keung Leung. He is a

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