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Forum Name: Gastroenterology Topics

Question: What to know about Barrett's


 jennifer1b - Fri Jun 01, 2007 10:22 am

I am a 63 yr old woman who has recently been diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus. I take meds for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and gerd. My mom is still alive at age 95 my sister passed away from pancreatic cancer. While I haven't read the biopsy report, they told me on the phone that there was no dysplasia and to have endoscopies done every 2 years. Now I am going to my primary doctor and want to know what questions I should ask about this. What should I be doing to prevent this condition from turning to cancer? Is there any other treatment that I should consider? I've read about several options. What are the chances of this spreading to other parts of my body. I have read of laporoscopic surgeries but wonder if they should be done now before I am too old. The gastroenterologist seems to have done his job and left me with all these questions. Please help to explain what this is all about and how to help my doctor and I make good decisions now. Thank you so much for this opportunity.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:08 pm

User avatar You've asked some great questions. To start, Barretts disease is also known as Barrett's esophagus because it only affects the esophagus. It does not spread elsewhere.

Barrett's disease is caused by the acid of the stomach washing up into the esophagus during reflux episodes. The lining of the esophagus is not intended to be constantly bathed in acid so the acid induces the lining of the esophagus to change into a lining more consistent with stomach lining. This change also leads to an increased risk of cancer.

The best thing to do is to be sure that your reflux is very well controlled. If medical treatment is not successful, a laproscopic surgery may be needed to control the reflux, known as a fundoplication. A 24 hour pH probe can be done to measure how often you are refluxing. This can help in decisions about whether or not surgery is needed. The surgery is not without side effects so if it is not needed it is usually recommended not to do it.

Best wishes.

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