Diagnosis & Treatments
Heartburn is a burning feeling in your chest caused by reflux of your stomach contents (including acid and bile) travelling back up into the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach which is known as your oesophagus. You would not normally notice reflux but if it happens regularly symptoms may start to appear.
a burning feeling;
pain just under your breastbone or in your chest;
an acid taste in your mouth; and
a hoarse voice
What exactly is Barrett's?
Barrett's is a change in the cells lining the oesophagus and is diagnosed by taking small tissue samples (biopsies) from the oesophagus . When these biopsies are examined under the microscope the cells lining the lower end of the gullet, which are normally layered like the skin for protection, have changed to look like those of the stomach or intestine which are more used to handling acid and bile.
Treatments are available if the condition is caught early enough.
It is normally treated with acidsuppressant medicine to control reflux symptoms. If there are more advanced changes to the cells then treatment is usually recommended to remove the abnormal lining.
Can Cancer be avoided?
If you have Barrett's oesophagus diagnosed, it is recommended that you have regular check-ups to make sure that if, in the unlikely event cancer does develop, it can be treated while it is at a curable stage. It is not currently known how to stop development of cancer.
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