Background Early identification of patients at risk of oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC) might improve survival. Aim To assess the medical resource utilization in the 3 years before OAC diagnosis as potential markers for early identification and intervention. Methods We identified 65 incident OAC within the Integrated Primary Care Information database. For comparison, we randomly selected 260 age- and gender-matched population controls. We abstracted the use of gastric acid inhibitors, general practitioner (GP) and specialist care, and gastroscopies in the 3 years before the detection of OAC. Results Approximately 20% of the cases used gastric acid inhibitors in the third and second year before OAC, which increased to almost 50% in the last year, compared to approximately 10% among controls. Only in the 6 months before OAC, the proportion of patients visiting a GP (97%) or specialist (41%) increased compared to controls. Of 13 gastroscopies performed in the 3 years, six (46%) were not suspect for a malignancy. Conclusions Only a minority of all OAC patients used acid inhibitors before diagnosis. The use of medical care between cases and controls differed only in the final year before OAC diagnosis. Detection of early neoplastic changes proves to be difficult.