An aggressive type of esophageal cancer known as esophageal adenocarcinoma is 30 times as common in people with Barrett’s esophagus — and that means you need expert medical care to mitigate the risk and improve your health. At Gastrointestinal Consultants, in Tavares, Orlando, and The Villages, Florida, the team of board-certified gastroenterologists, including Lalbahadur Nagabhairu, MD, and Shams Tabrez, MD, can diagnose and treat Barrett’s esophagus using the most cutting-edge approaches. Call the office or book your appointment using the online scheduling feature today.
Barrett’s esophagus is a complication of chronic acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Years of acid backflow can severely damage esophagus tissue. The normally smooth, pink lining of the esophagus changes into a salmon color with a rougher and thicker texture, which is similar to the lining of the small intestine.
Barrett’s esophagus leaves you at 30 times the risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma, an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. While most people with Barrett’s esophagus don’t develop esophageal cancer, it’s a serious risk that requires close monitoring and, sometimes, preventive treatments.
If you have Barrett’s esophagus, you may experience the symptoms of GERD, including:
However, about 50% of people with Barrett’s esophagus don’t experience acid reflux symptoms. If you have Barrett’s esophagus, you may remember having acid reflux frequently when you were younger.
The symptoms can stop when Barrett’s esophagus and its tougher lining develops, which means you can’t rely upon symptoms to tell you when there’s a problem.
The main diagnostic procedure for Barrett’s esophagus is upper endoscopy, a procedure in which the Gastrointestinal Consultants team views your esophagus lining through a long tube with a tiny built-in camera.
If the tissue looks abnormal, indicating Barrett’s esophagus, the team takes a small tissue sample (biopsy).
A pathology specialist then examines your tissue sample to determine whether you have precancerous cells (dysplasia), and, if so, how severe the issue is.
Treatment depends on whether you have dysplasia and, if so, its grade. If your Barrett’s esophagus diagnosis occurs at an early stage, you may only need monitoring. This usually involves upper endoscopies, or possibly capsule endoscopies.
If you have precancerous lesions in your esophagus, the team may recommend an endoscopic procedure, such as radiofrequency ablation, to destroy the unhealthy tissue safely.
Whether your Barrett’s esophagus requires treatment or not, you still need treatment for the underlying problem: GERD. Treatment of GERD typically involves lifestyle and diet changes along with medication.
With early diagnosis and proper treatment, you can reduce your risk of esophageal cancer and eliminate symptoms of GERD and Barrett’s esophagus. Treatment could actually save your life, so it’s never too early to schedule a check-up. Call Gastrointestinal Consultants or book your appointment online today.