so I need to do some serious changes in my diet because although Barrett’s is not cancer, it is sometimes a precursor to oesophagus cancer. So now I need to wait for the biopsy results to see if there is an sign of dysplasia (cell change) and change my diet. That is not going to be easy because basically all the thing I like eat and drink have been restricted but I am going to need to do it.
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition of the esophagus (swallowing tube) in which the normal white lining of the esophagus has been replaced by an abnormal red lining called specialized intestinal metaplasia. It occurs in about 10% of people who have chronic or longstanding gastroesophageal reflux disease (heartburn). Barrett’s esophagus is a precancerous lining in which a type of esophageal cancer called adenocarcinoma can develop but the risk of cancer is low in most patients. At the present time, no one can predict which patients with Barrett’s esophagus will develop cancer. It is, therefore, recommended that all patients who have Barrett’s esophagus have their esophagus periodically checked to detect cancer when it is early and curable.
guidelines for Barretts are as follows:
- Avoid eating anything within three hours before bedtime.
- Avoid smoking and tobacco products. Nicotine in the blood weakens the LES.
- Reduce consumption of fatty foods, milk, chocolate, mints, caffeine, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits and juices, tomato products, pepper seasoning, and alcohol (especially red wine).
- Eat smaller meals. Avoid tight clothing or bending over after eating.
- Review all medications with your physician. Certain drugs can actually weaken the LES.
- Elevate the head of the bed or mattress 6 to 8 inches. This helps to keep acid in the stomach. Pillows by themselves are not very helpful. Wedging pillows under the head tends to bend the body at the waist which can push more fluid back up into the esophagus.
- Lose weight if overweight. This may relieve upward pressure on the stomach and LES.
I will also need regular endoscopies for the rest of my life – one next year and then if no change is detected, very 3 yrs. My doctor said it was a very small area so it seems I have managed to catch it at a very early stage. Fortunately only 1-5% of people go onto developing cancer and as they are watched closely, it is early stage canceer
The actual procedure for the endoscope was remarkably easy as they put you under deep sedation. I actually thought I was dozing and thinking, I hope this doesn’t hurt and then the next thing I am being told its all over. I was wide awake within mins unlike when I had the colonoscopy done.
Glad I thought my heartburn was changing as I have read so many stories in the past few weeks where the cancer has been discovered at a very late stage and usually because the person has difficulty in swallowing food. By that point you are often at stage 3 or 4. Now it just makes my blood boil every time I see an ad for heartburn medication because people think, oh it just heartburn or acid reflux (the most common term over here) as if its a passage of rite. Eaten too much, just take a pill and you can eat all you like.
Fortunately, my heart is still in good shape! Had my regular heart stress and ultrasound checks (due to diabetes) and every thing is good to go for another year. Hopefully this time next year I will be in even better shape.