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Barrett's esophagus can result from ongoing heartburn, which allows a constant splashing of acid from the stomach into the esophagus. Left untreated, the condition can progress to esophagus cancer. Now, a new method, called cryoablation therapy, is available to freeze damaged cells in the esophagus, preventing them from turning cancerous.
Gastroenterologists at the University of Southwestern Medical Center, and a few other sites around the country, are using a special catheter and liquid nitrogen to freeze the damaged tissue in the superficial lining of the esophagus. The treated tissue eventually falls off, allowing normal cells to grow and replace the damaged cells in about six to eight weeks. This is the same technology that has been in place and used by dermatologists for years to treat skin irregularities.
Using this method of treatment for Barrett's has recently been approved by the FDA. Prior to this approval, typical treatment for Barrett's may have included scra...
Introduction Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition in which acids from the stomach flow back up into the esophagus (an action called reflux ). Reflux occurs if the muscular actions of the lower esophagus or other protective mechanisms fail.
Click the icon to see an animation about heartburn. The hallmark symptoms of GERD are: Heartburn : a burning sensation in the chest and throat. Regurgitation : a sensation of acid backed up in the esophagus. Although acid is a primary factor in damage caused by GERD, other products of the digestive tract, including pepsin and bile, can also be harmful. Heartburn is a condition in which the acidic stomach contents back up into the esophagus, causing pain in the chest area. This reflux usually occurs because the sphincter muscle between the esophagus and stomach is weakened. Remaining upright by standing or sitting up after eating a meal can help reduce the reflux that causes heartburn. Continuous irritation of the esophagus lining, as in sev...
Alternative Names Cancer - esophagus Prevention The following may help reduce your risk of squamous cell cancer of the esophagus: Avoid smoking Limit or do not drink alcoholic beverages People with symptoms of severe gastroesophageal reflux should seek medical attention. Screening with EGD and biopsy in people with Barrett's esophagus may lead to early detection and improved survival. People who are diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus should consider getting regular checkups for esophageal cancer. References Das A. Tumors of the esophagus. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease . 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2010:chap 46. National Cancer Institute. Esophageal Cancer Treatment PDQ. Updated July 20, 2010. National Comprehensive Cancer Network, Inc. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology . Esophageal Cancer. V2. 2010. Accessed January 22, 2011.
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