Groundbreaking treatment at Riverview Regional prevents esophageal cancer


It seems harmless, but heartburn can lead to deadly esophageal cancer, one of the fastest growing cancer diagnoses in the nation.

Estimated new cases of esophageal cancer for 2014 are 18,170.

Estimated deaths from esophageal cancer for 2014 are 15,450.  

There are two types of esophageal cancer: Squamous Cell Carcinoma, which is usually linked to smoking and drinking alcohol, and Adenocarcinoma, which is usually caused by persistent heartburn or reflux disease.

Esophageal cancer usually is discovered at late stages when treatment is rarely successful.

The key to surviving is early detection.  

Heartburn and/or reflux disease occurs when caustic fluids splash upward from the stomach, damaging the lining of the esophagus.

Although some people feel no symptoms, others describe burning or pain in their chest.

Other symptoms include chronic cough, hoarseness or sore throat, coughing when you lie down or difficulty swallowing. 

Over time, heartburn can cause the cells lining the esophagus to change to a more resistant lining.

While that may cause a reduction in the symptoms, those changes can also be the early signs of a precancerous change in the esophagus.

This condition is known as Barrett’s Esophagus.

Riverview Regional Medical Center/Gadsden Endoscopy Center recently acquired the HALO/Barrx system and is offering this procedure to the area.

HALO/Barrx ablation technology is a very specific type of ablation, in which thermal (heat) energy is delivered in a precise and highly controlled manner.

Barrett’s esophagus tissue is very thin and with Barrx technology can achieve complete removal of the diseased tissue without damage to the normal underlying structures. 

Clinical studies have demonstrated that Barrett’s tissue can be completely eliminated with Barrx ablation in 98.4 percent of patients.

Ablation therapy is performed in conjunction with upper endoscopy and is performed in an outpatient setting with no incisions involved.

Patients with Barrett’s esophagus have a 1 in 20 chance of developing aggressive esophageal cancer.

Once you’ve got Barrett’s, no antacids or acid-blockers can undo the pre-cancerous change; it will never heal.

New outpatient procedures, such as the HALO procedure, remove those cells show promise for getting rid of the condition and lowering the risk of developing cancer.

Treatment options for Barrett’s esophagus include medication, endoscopic ablative therapies, endoscopic mucosal resection and surgery. 

Heartburn and/or reflux disease can be treated. Don’t wait!

Follow up with your Gastroenterologist today to discuss treatment options.

For more information on the HALO/ Barrx Ablation Technology, call the Gadsden Endoscopy Center at 256-492-4284.

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