According to guidelines from the
Association, simply having GERD
is not reason enough to be
screened for Barrett’s
esophagus. However, screening IS
recommended for people with
several risk factors for
esophageal cancer. Risk factors
Being age 50 or older
Being overweight or
Having chronic GERD for
5 years or longer
Having a hiatal hernia
Should you be screened?
Talk with one of our
gastroenterologists and find
out. To schedule an appointment:
Barrett’s esophagus is a condition involving a change in the tissue that
lines the esophagus. Because the abnormal tissue has the appearance of
the lining of the intestine, it is called intestinal metaplasia.
Chronic reflux of stomach acid, or GERD,
is a major risk factor for developing Barrett’s esophagus.
Over time, damage from reflux of digestive juices can cause Barrett's
esophagus to develop into a type of esophageal cancer (adenocarcinoma).
An estimated 1 in 200 people with Barrett’s esophagus (less than 1%)
develop esophageal cancer each year.
Before cancer develops, precancerous cells typically appear in the
Barrett’s tissue. This precancerous tissue is referred to as dysplasia.
Precancerous tissue begins as low-grade dysplasia and progresses to
high-grade dysplasia before transitioning to cancer.
At Lankenau Medical Center, our goal is to prevent the development of
esophageal cancer in patients with Barrett’s esophagus. Our care
approach is guided by current best-practice guidelines and includes:
Screening to look for Barrett’s tissue, with pathologic
confirmation of intestinal metaplasia (diagnosis of Barrett’s
Monitoring Barrett’s tissue for progression to dysplasia, with
pathologic confirmation of dysplasia (detection of precancer)
Treating dysplasia to prevent its advance to cancer
We offer a full range of endoscopic techniques and procedures to screen
for, diagnose, and treat Barrett’s esophagus. Screening and monitoring
involve upper endoscopy
with tissue evaluation by a pathologist. Treatment involves removing
precancerous tissue using one or more minimally invasive endoscopic
Probe-based confocal laser endomicroscopy (also
called Cellvizio) is an advanced tool for detection of abnormal
cells in the lining of the digestive tract. It involves the use
of a tiny microscope that fits into an endoscope and allows
examination of the inside of the digestive tract at the cellular
level—similar to biopsy but without removing a tissue sample.
Because the tool is used during endoscopy, it provides immediate
identification of abnormal, precancerous, or cancerous tissue in
the esophagus and helps inform decisions about the best
In EUS, an endoscope with a built-in ultrasound device is used
to examine the lining of the esophagus and tissues extending
beyond this layer as well as nearby organs. EUS allows more
conclusive evaluation of lesions detected on endoscopy and
improved staging of early cancers.
Endoscopic mucosal resection and endoscopic submucosal
dissection are related techniques that combine the use
of an endoscope and specialized tools to remove precancerous
tissue or early-stage cancers that are confined to the surface
layers of the esophageal lining.
Radiofrequency (thermal) ablation is another
endoscopic procedure for removing precancerous lesions or
early-stage (noninvasive) cancers from the lining of the
esophagus. The technique uses heat generated by radio waves to
target and destroy the abnormal tissue. New, healthy tissue then
grows where the abnormal tissue had been.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.