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Barretts Esophagus Program

About Barrett's esophagus

Barrett's esophagus is a painful digestive disorder with symptoms that will likely interfere with your daily activities. Left untreated, the condition sometimes leads to esophageal cancer.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), our gastroenterology team provides comprehensive care to treat Barrett's esophagus and help prevent esophageal cancer. We focus on relieving your symptoms and avoiding complications to help you maintain your quality of life.

What is Barrett's esophagus?

Barrett’s esophagus develops in the tissue that lines the esophagus (food tube), which connects the mouth to the stomach. Cells in the esophagus lining change, becoming more like cells in the lining of the intestines.

These cell changes may result from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also called acid reflux, which occurs when stomach acid flows backward into the esophagus. But not everyone who has GERD goes on to develop Barrett’s esophagus.

In some people with Barrett’s esophagus, precancerous cells replace the damaged tissue. It’s important to seek treatment for Barrett’s esophagus to help prevent it from becoming esophageal cancer.

Barrett's esophagus symptoms

Often, people who have Barrett’s esophagus experience few or no symptoms. If you have GERD, you may experience symptoms such as:

  • Chronic (long-term) heartburn, which causes sharp pain in the chest and abdomen
  • Regurgitation, the taste or feeling of stomach acid or partially digested food in the mouth or throat
  • Difficult or painful swallowing, especially with food
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Persistent cough or sore throat

It's important to see an experienced team with the training, skills and experience to recognize the symptoms of Barrett's esophagus and distinguish it from other conditions. At CTCA®, our team's expertise means we can confirm a diagnosis and begin treatment quickly to help you get relief.

Barrett's esophagus causes and risk factors

Although the exact causes of the condition are unknown, most people who have Barrett’s esophagus also have GERD. Certain factors may increase your risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus.

Risk factors you cannot control
  • Family history of Barrett’s esophagus or esophageal cancer
  • Male gender
  • White (Caucasian) ethnic background
  • Age over 50
Risk factors you can control
  • Current or past smoking
  • Alcohol use
  • Obesity or excess weight, especially around the abdomen
  • Diet that includes fatty foods and beverages that are caffeinated, carbonated or both
Preventing Barrett's esophagus

Treatment for heartburn and GERD may help prevent Barrett’s esophagus. You may also reduce your risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus with healthy lifestyle habits, such as:

  • Avoiding smoking and alcohol use
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Eating healthy foods

Screening for and diagnosing Barrett's esophagus

At CTCA, we recommend screening for Barrett’s esophagus for people who have:

  • Weekly, chronic symptoms of GERD (at least once a week for five years or more)
  • Two or more risk factors for Barrett’s esophagus

Our team offers screening and diagnostic services to identify tissue changes as early as possible and confirm a diagnosis of Barrett’s esophagus. Early detection, diagnosis and treatment may help prevent the condition from becoming esophageal cancer.

Learn more about our program and what we offer for Barrett’s esophagus screening and diagnosis.

Treating Barrett's esophagus

Once we confirm a diagnosis of Barrett’s esophagus, we customize a treatment plan designed to relieve your symptoms and monitor the condition. At CTCA, you’ll receive care designed to improve the way you feel and help prevent Barrett’s esophagus from progressing to esophageal cancer.

Find out more about our options for Barrett’s esophagus treatment, including:

  • Monitoring
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Medications
  • Minimally invasive procedures, such as endoscopic mucosal resection, radiofrequency ablation and cryotherapy
  • Surgery

The CTCA Mother Standard of care

Our services and treatments for Barrett's esophagus

If you have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also called acid reflux, it may progress to Barrett's esophagus. At CTCA,our expert team provides comprehensive care to help relieve symptoms, prevent progression to cancer and detect changes as early as possible.

We offer:

Make an appointment with our Barrett's esophagus team

If you have GERD or other gastrointestinal symptoms, we're ready to help you. To learn more about our Barrett's esophagus care or to make an appointment, call or chat online with a member of our team.