Gastric ulcer and Barrett's Esophagus?

Barrett's Esophagus is a condition whereby there is a change of the lining of the esophagus where it meets the stomach. This can been observed by the gastroenterologist when he/she scopes you, but can only be definitively diagnosed after pathologic examination of the cells (from biopsies that should have been taken). What is seen microscopically is a change in the normal type of cells in the esophagus to a type of cell seen more commonly in the stomach (sqamous cells become glandular/columnar cells).

Barrett's Esophagus is not cancer. It is not even pre-cancer (or carcinomat in-situ). It is a RISK FACTOR for developing esophageal cancer. Many sites that you read will overstate this risk. The risk of developing esophageal cancer for those with Barrett's Esophagus is estimated at 0.5% per year in any individual. (In the US, more recent studies have lead some to believe the risk is even lower than this, although it may be slightly higher in other countries.) The lifetime risk of developing esophageal cancer is very difficult to assess as I am not aware of any great long term data on this. Previously number around 20-25% lifetime risk were assumed, but now most suggest the risk is much lower than this. With routine surveillance, the hope is that in the few individuals who do develop cancer it will be found early and easily treated.

Despite all this scary talk of esophageal cancer, there are also some papers out there that note the mortality rates and life expectancies of individuals with Barrett's are no different than that of the general population.

As to what you should do, it sounds like you are on the right track. You are taking an acid suppressor and are being followed by a GI doc. As you are aware that you are at somewhat increased risk for esophageal cancer, you now know that it is more important to seek medical attention promptly if you have sypmtoms like: difficulty swallowing, unintended weight loss, vomitting blood.

I would emphasize that perhaps the most important part of this for you would be dealing with this mentally/emotionally. Given the low risk, it is very possible that the psychologic ramifications of the diagnosis will hurt your qualityof life more than any cancer ever will. While Barrett's is not at all to be taken lightly, you are doing everything you can, the vast majority of people in your situation never get cancer, and overall your life expectancy is no different from anyone else of your age group.

I hope that helped a little. Good luck.

2 comments:

Blogger said...

With bistroMD you can rest assured that you will not only receive gourmet meals, but that every entree and every day in bistroMD's weight loss programs will be balanced to bistroMD's specific nutritional platform to help promote healthy weight loss.

STEP 1 - Choose one of the weight loss plans for 5 or 7 days of meals.
STEP 2 - See your menu before ordering and select the entrees you desire for each day and week.
STEP 3 - Order your weight loss plan online.
STEP 4 - Your meals are sent to your door.

GET STARTED NOW - home deliveries.

Blogger said...

New Diet Taps into Revolutionary Plan to Help Dieters Get Rid Of 23 Pounds within Only 21 Days!

Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Favorites More