October 30, 2009

Different type of gullet cells raises risk of cancer but not death

By Kelley Luckstein

People whose gullets are lined by gut-like tissues — a condition called Barrett’s esophagus — are not likely to die sooner than people with a normal esophagus, Mayo Clinic scientists say.

Barrett’s esophagus affects about 1 in 100 U.S. adults, and is more common in people with long-term acid reflux problems. The condition has no significant symptoms, but doctors and patients sometimes worry about it because people with Barrett’s esophagus have a higher risk of developing life-threatening esophageal cancer, which can be hard to treat.


with Barrett’s esophagus. The patients averaged 63 years of age, and all lived in Olmsted County, where the Mayo Clinic is headquartered. Ten years after diagnosis, 68 percent of the patients were still alive, comparable to the survival of similarly aged people without the condition, Mayo scientists told the annual meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology on Monday. While Barrett’s patients were more likely to die of esophageal cancer, few enough did that the group’s overall death rate was normal.


Oregon Live, by Andy Dworkin, 10/28/09

Tags: Barrett's esophagus, Cancer, GI

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