WHAT IS BARRETT'S ESOPHAGUS?
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition in which the cells and tissues lining the esophagus change their composition and color. Left untreated, a small percentage of patients with the condition may develop a rare and deadly form of esophageal cancer. However, many patients may have this condition without showing any signs or symptoms.
Barrett’s esophagus is more common in people who have been diagnosed with long-term gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Because of this, patients who have this condition and GERD may experience the following:
- Black, tarry stools
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing food
- Frequent heartburn
- Vomiting blood
BARRETT'S AND ESOPHAGEAL CANCER
Only a small percentage of patients with Barrett’s esophagus develop cancer from it. However, because this cancer is often deadly, it’s important to monitor this condition and intervene as soon as possible. Patients may live with Barret’s esophagus for years before cancer develops.
Dr. Donepudi now uses an endoscopic treatment to eliminate Barrett’s cells, especially if they are precancerous. Called Barrx™ radiofrequency ablation, this treatment can reduce your chances of disease progression by over 90%. Dr. Donepudi can explain the risks and benefits of this procedure to you if she determines that you’re a candidate for it.
Should You Get Diagnosed?
If you are age 40 or older and have lived with GERD for a number of years, we will probably recommend that you undergo an endoscopy and/or biopsy to check for this condition. Only an upper gastrointestinal endoscopy can obtain samples from the esophagus that the doctor can biopsy. Once the procedure is complete, a pathologist will examine the tissues to determine a diagnosis.
You’re in Good Hands
Whether you have recently been diagnosed with Barrett’s esophagus or you are determining whether you should seek a diagnosis, rest assured that Dr. Donepudi will take excellent care of you. She is here to help you monitor your condition and deal with any problems that may occur. Call us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.