ANCHOR LEAD: A PRECANCEROUS CONDITION CALLED BARRETT’S ESOPHAGUS CAN BE EFFECTIVELY TREATED, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
People who have chronic heartburn also need to worry about a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, a precancerous change in the esophagus that’s the result of long term exposure to stomach contents, and that also goes on to develop into frank cancer. Now a new technique to treat Barrett’s may help. Bill Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, comments.
NELSON: The real worry about Barrett’s esophagus is that many people who suffer with Barrett’s esophagus go on to get esophageal cancer, a devastating cancer that’s difficult to treat. What was reported in the New England journal was very promising early results on attempts to use radiofrequency ablation, sort of a zapping of the cancer with a local kind of therapy, to kill off the Barrett’s and amazingly enough, slow or stop cancers from arising. :25
Longer term follow up is needed, but Nelson says early results are quite promising. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.