Bedford Woman’s warning about chronic heartburn

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BEDFORD, Va. (WFXR) — Anita Murphy has a message for us all. If you have chronic heartburn, talk to your doctor about esophageal cancer.

Murphy has dealt with heartburn almost as far back as she can remember.

“I would go to the doctor. I would get Nexium. I would get Pepsid. I would get Omeprizole,” Murphy said.

And she would take those medications and just deal with it, not thinking it could possibly threaten her life. Then recently, she was having a difficult time swallowing food, and went to see a specialist.

“That’s when they discovered the mass at the junction where my esophagus meets my stomach,” Murphy said.

She got the diagnosis: stage three esophageal cancer.

Murphy said: “And my doctor has reiterated to me quite a few times that this came from years of acid reflux. I never thought heartburn was that bad.”

She now faces 5-7 weeks of radiation, chemotherapy, and a major surgery to remove half of her esophagus and the top of her stomach. Now, as Murphy spends her time working on her Christmas tree, which is up earlier than normal this year, so she could work on it while she is still able, she’s spreading the word about the connection between chronic heartburn and esophageal cancer. She has a message for anyone who will listen.

“Anybody who has heartburn, indigestion, chest pains for heartburn, acid reflux backing up in their esophagus, please go get checked,” Murphy said.

Murphy knows she has a long fight ahead of her. She’s hoping and praying for the best.

“The hardest part for me was sitting my grandchildren down and telling them ‘Nana’s very sick,'” Murphy said. “And for my grandson to look at me and say ‘Nana, are you going to die?’ It was hard. And all I said was ‘Baby, I hope not.'”

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