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Esophageal Cancer

This video segment was taken in the lower esophagus during a gastroscopy examination. This 62 year old retired airline pilot had symptoms of heartburn for many years for which he took antacids daily. For six weeks he noticed difficulty swallowing solid foods. As the problem progressed, he was referred for evaluation. Unfortunately, his longstanding acid reflux has led to a condition called Barrett's Esophagus which led to formation of cancer of the esophagus. As you travel down the esophagus in this short videoclip, you first see normal pink esophagus lining. Then you encounter a darker red lining which is the Barrett's esophagus. As you travel downward, there is an area of abnormal tissue which is bleeding and filling the passageway. This is esophageal cancer growing in the lower esophagus and blocking the opening into the stomach. Even the thinnest pediatric gastroscope could not be safely passed beyond this narrowed area. This patient was referred for surgery, but further testing revealed that the cancer had already spread beyond the confines of the esophagus and surgery was not possible.

This is an example of how longstanding heartburn can turn into Barrett's esophagus which may lead to esophageal cancer. This is why individuals with a history of chronic frequent heartburn should see their doctor and consider a gastroscopy exam to see if Barrett's changes are present. If so, treatment and close followup can help prevent heartburn from turning into a serious case of esophagus cancer.

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Three Rivers Endoscopy Scope Cam

Esophageal Cancer from Barrett's Esophagus


Text & Images Courtesy of Three Rivers Endoscopy Center
© Dr. Robert Fusco, Three Rivers Endoscopy Center, All Rights Reserved

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