GIS Q&A - Dr. Sathya Jaganmohan: How can Barrett’s Esophagus be detected and eradicated?
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition where the inner lining of the cells in the esophagus changes to a different type due to constant acid reflux and acid exposure. Barrett’s esophagus is detected by a simple endoscopy procedure where a patient is put to sleep. A small, flexible scope is introduced through the mouth and the parts of the esophagus are evaluated, and biopsies are taken to be tested for Barrett’s. If Barrett’s esophagus is identified, most of the time it requires constant surveillance every one to two years, and can be monitored with medication and treatment. In some cases, the Barrett’s can progress to early changes of cancer called dysplasia. If dysplasia is detected, a simple endoscopic procedure can again be used to use radio frequency waves to burn and treat the Barrett’s and eradicate the Barrett’s before it turns into cancer. Simple endoscopic procedure is available to treat advanced cases of Barrett’s or precancerous changes in the esophagus to prevent esophageal cancer, but the key is early detection.