I'm 60 years of age and never heard of Barrett's Esophagus...
With so much information and screening for Colon Cancer why aren't many of us familiar with Barrett's Esophagus as well as the risk of Esophageal Cancer? Shouldn't this be a routine exam during a colonoscopy if GERD (acid reflux) is very common in so many?
I've suffered with acid reflux on and off for about 10 years. Never once was an endoscopy ordered to determine the possible cause or to screen for a more serious condition. Over the years my doctor/s just prescribed various forms of relief in the form of medications such as Omeprazole/Prilosec, Ranitidine and Zantac. Although these drugs provided relief, it was temporary. Over the years my faith in doctors have diminished and I now spend a lot of my time on the Internet. I've decided it's tIme I take control of my health through self education and research. I've suffered with acid reflux on and off for about 10 years. Never once was an endoscopy ordered to determine the possible cause or to screen for a more serious condition. Over the years my doctor/s just prescribed various forms of relief in the form of medications such as Omeprazole/Prilosec, Ranitidine and Zantac.
Although these drugs provided relief, it was temporary. Over the years my faith in doctors have diminished and I now spend a lot of my time on the Internet. Time to take control of my health through self education rather than trust your doctor. This led me to learn about a procedure called Endoscopy. The (look inside) examination of the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of the body: most often referred to as an examination of the upper part of the gastrointestinal tract, esophagus using a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube inserted through the mouth. Similar to a Colonoscopy (look inside) examination of the large bowel and the distal part of the small bowel with a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube inserted through the anus.
Learning about this procedure, I wondered why none of the doctors I saw (especially my primary care doctor) recommended this procedure, even with my history of Acid Reflux/GERD? It's written all over my medical records and I've had 4 colonoscopies in the past 9 years!
Nevertheless, it was time for me to schedule my 5 year routine Colonoscopy so I requested my new gastrointestinal doctor preform an Endoscopy at the same time. Findings? Barrett's Esophagus. A condition known to increased risk for Esophageal Cancer. I'm waiting for results and so disheartened that this condition could have been learned earlier. Baffled even more, wondering why after several physical exams and visits including acid reflux disclosure, my primary care doctor never requested an Endoscopy. My primary care doctor just continued to prescribe medications such as Omeprazole, Ranitidine and Zantac; a bandaid approach to my acid reflux (GERD) problems. Shame on him. Shame on any doctor who does not spend the short amount of time to look at their patients history when treated, especially when a patient comes in for an annual physical and a condition is chronic!!
The good news! I stopped taking the medications for acid reflux about 3-1/2 weeks ago replacing them with a few swallows of “baking soda water" (1-T to 16-oz of Arrowhead Water Bottle) during the day and I changed my diet. Within 10-14 days I had no need for the “baking soda water" with exception of a swallow or two, after I indulged in a known acid reflux trigger food/beverage - NO real acid reflux. Just a small warning which led me to my “baking soda water" solution. Now, 3-1/2 weeks on this diet and I feel so much better. Acid Reflux seems to be under control!! Even my joint pain has lessened and my energy level is up. A testimony to God's Food and a few supplements rather than the harmful bandaid approach with pharmaceuticals. Now just waiting for Endoscopy biopsy results.
Jan. 18, 2005 -- The number of Americans diagnosed with a common form of esophageal cancer has increased sixfold over the last 25 years.
About half of the estimated 14,250 people diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2004 have a form of esophageal cancer called adenocarcinoma. The esophagus is the long, narrow tube that brings food and liquid from the mouth to the stomach.
Although esophageal adenocarcinoma is relatively uncommon, researchers say it is now the fastest growing form of cancer in the U.S., and its incidence is rising faster than breast cancer, prostate cancer, or melanoma.
Some had suspected that the rapid increase in esophageal cancer rates might be the result of improved screening and detection.
People with Barrett's esophagus, a condition in which abnormal cells develop from long-term acid reflux, are more likely to get this form of esophageal cancer.
Esophageal Cancer Rising Rapidly
In the study, which appears in the Jan. 19 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers found that from 1975 to 2001, the frequency of esophageal adenocarcinoma rose approximately sixfold in the U.S. from 4 to 23 cases per million people.