Barrett’s esophagus can cause sufferers a great deal of pain and discomfort. Even more frightening, over time, Barrett’s esophagus can develop into esophageal cancer. Learning about Barrett’s esophagus facts and statistics can help you determine if you need to be tested for this potentially dangerous condition. If you think you may be at risk for Barrett’s, or if you want more information, contact the board-certified GI specialists at La Peer Health Systems’ Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence today.
What Is Barrett’s Esophagus?
Barrett’s esophagus occurs when the cells of the lower esophagus sustain damage, usually as a result of repeated contact with stomach acid. The damage causes the esophageal cells to undergo changes in color and composition. Over time, Barrett’s esophagus can lead to the development of a fast-growing form of cancer called esophageal adenocarcinoma. Knowing your risk factors for Barrett’s can help you determine whether or not to be tested for the condition.
Who Gets Barrett’s Esophagus?
Barrett’s esophagus strikes men more often than women. Caucasian people develop Barrett’s more frequently than those in other ethnic groups. White men over 50 have one of the highest risk factors for Barrett’s disease.
Lifestyle choices related to diet and weight can also affect your chance of developing Barrett’s esophagus. Further, people with a family history of Barrett’s or gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) also have a higher risk of getting Barrett’s esophagus.
The doctors at the Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence believe that educating people about Barrett’s esophagus is key to ensuring that people get treatment early, before cancer can develop.
Facts and Statistics About Barrett’s Esophagus
• About one percent of adults in America suffer from Barrett’s disease.
• According to a 2005 study, an estimated three million Americans are currently living with Barrett’s esophagus.
• Suffering heartburn symptoms for ten or more years can increase one’s risk of developing Barrett’s.
• Getting treated for Barrett’s esophagus can reduce your risk of developing esophageal cancer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What groups endure the highest risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus?
A: Caucasians, men and individuals over age 50 have a higher risk of getting Barrett’s esophagus. Further, people who smoke or drink excessively may be more likely to develop Barrett’s.
Q: Who should consider being tested?
A: You should consider being tested for Barrett’s esophagus if you have a family history of the condition or if you’re experiencing persistent heartburn. People with GERD should also be tested for Barrett’s.
Q: How is it diagnosed?
A: Our doctors typically diagnose Barrett’s esophagus by performing an upper endoscopy.
Q: Does everyone with Barrett’s go on to develop esophageal cancer?
A: Not everyone with Barrett’s will develop esophageal cancer. However, it is important to monitor your condition for signs of change.
Q: What can I do to reduce my risk of developing esophageal cancer?
A: Our doctors utilize state of the art endoscopic treatments to destroy Barrett’s tissue without injuring nearby healthy tissue. Removing precancerous cells can help stop esophageal cancer from developing in the future.
Contact the Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence
We offer testing and treatment for Barrett’s esophagus in our newly renovated Los Angeles facility. Contact the Barrett’s Esophagus Center of Excellence today to schedule a consultation with our GI specialists.
Next, learn about treatments for Barrett’s.