What is Barrett’s Esophagus?
People who suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) should visit a qualified physician or healthcare provider to discuss whether they should be tested for a condition called Barrett's esophagus. Barrett's esophagus is caused by longstanding GERD and is a major risk for developing cancer of the esophagus.
Between 4 and 6 million Americans are estimated to have this precancerous condition and only a few who are at risk for Barrett’s esophagus, ever undergo proper evaluation to identify it. Therefore, many who are at risk for esophageal cancer caused by GERD never even know it!
Barrett’s Esophagus Symptoms
GERD occurs when the contents of the stomach regurgitate into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation in the chest or throat. Half of U.S. adults experience symptoms of GERD almost monthly, while 20 percent experience symptoms weekly.
Common GERD Symptoms
Approximately 20 million Americans suffer from GERD symptoms on a daily basis. For many, symptoms are mild, but for some, GERD is a daily, severe problem with lifelong implications.
Barrett’s Esophagus causes - Are you at Risk?
People who have chronic GERD are at risk for the development of Barrett's esophagus, which is a precancerous condition affecting the lining of the esophagus that can only be diagnosed by endoscopy (a procedure by which the esophagus is viewed with the use of a tube-like scope.) Tissue samples or “biopsies” of suspicious areas are required to identify this condition.
Barrett's esophagus carries with it a significant risk of developing GERD-induced esophageal cancer, which is the most rapidly rising, cancer in the U.S. and Europe. Once developed, this deadly cancer kills over 85% of its victims within 5 years. More than 25,000 cases of GERD-induced esophageal cancer will be diagnosed this year, most of which are advanced with no prospect of cure. Anyone who has suffered reflux-like symptoms for over 3 years should undergo an evaluation because measures are now available that can likely reduce the possibility of Barrett’s esophagus progressing to cancer.
Talk to your physician or call Garnet Health Doctors at 845-333-7575 for an appointment with a primary care provider.