Determining Risk for Barrett’s Esophagus
Risk factors that increase the chances of developing Barrett's esophagus include:
GERD, or long-term heartburn
- Age 50 and over; men are at higher risk than women
- Hiatal hernia
- Unhealthy eating habits
In some people, the damage and inflammation associated with acid reflux
can cause genetic changes that cause the normal esophageal tissue to change
into intestinal tissue. When this happens, it is referred to as Barrett’s
esophagus. It’s estimated that 13% of people who have chronic acid
reflux also have Barrett’s esophagus.
Therefore, the best way to prevent Barrett's esophagus is to reduce
and/or treat the reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus. This is why
individuals who have frequent or long-standing acid reflux symptoms should
consult a physician experienced in gastroesophageal disease. Medications
have not been shown to prevent the development of Barrett's esophagus
or reduce the chances of it progressing to cancer.
Left untreated, acid reflux may lead to the development of pre-cancerous
cells, and in a small percentage of patients, this can result in a life-threatening
cancer of the esophagus known as esophageal adenocarcinoma. While rare,
cancer of the esophagus is the most rapidly rising cancer in the U.S.
and if discovered at a late stage can be incurable, which is why expert
diagnosis and treatment are critical for individuals suffering from severe
gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Expert Care You Can Trust!
The Hoag Digestive Disease Center, in alliance with USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, continues to
lead the way in complex gastroesophageal care, providing access to a highly
specialized surgical team that works collaboratively with Hoag-affiliated
gastroenterologists and medical oncology specialists to provide academic-level
care. Hoag’s committed to
accurate diagnosis, combined with
progressive therapeutic options enables Hoag patients to achieve some of the highest clinical outcomes
in the nation.
To schedule a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation, or a second-opinion
consultation with a Hoag gastroesophageal expert, visit
Meet the Team, or call us at: 877-775-0604.