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Improved Endoscopy Method Increases Detection of Esophageal Pre-Cancer by Over 40 Percent
Date:5/19/2011

velop esophageal cancer from the Barrett's area of their esophagus.

The current standard of care for preventing EA is for patients with chronic heartburn to see a gastroenterologist every three years for an upper endoscopy of their esophagus. During this procedure, which is typically performed under sedation in the doctor's office or ambulatory surgery center, the doctor will biopsy any areas that appear suspicious for Barrett's esophagus using a small forceps that is passed down the endoscope. Patients who are found to have Barrett's esophagus may then have this procedure performed annually during which the Barrett's area is now repeatedly biopsied to try to detect any pre-cancerous cells (known as dysplasia) that may be within it. As is true with many other cancers, detection and removal of these pre-cancerous (dysplastic) cells can prevent esophageal cancer before it can actually start. For this reason upper endoscopy is performed on over 8 million Americans with heartburn each year.

Gastroenterologists have long known that the very small forceps that they can pass through the narrow biopsy channel of an endoscope can take only a limited, and often random, tissue sample; hence many cases of Barrett's esophagus and dysplasia are currently being missed.

"A long segment of Barrett's esophagus is usually appreciated during endoscopy, however previous studies have shown that a very short segment of Barrett's, which is often not suspected visually is also typically missed by the forceps biopsy," said Dr. Waye.

These two studies tested the esophageal brush biopsy on two widely different patient populations and practice settings to determine its benefit at both points where the current forceps biopsy can fail to detect pre-cancerous disease. In one study performed at eight primary care GI centers, the brush biopsy was tested for its ability to increase the detection of Barrett's esophagus in patients whose only symptom was chronic heartbur
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SOURCE CDx Diagnostics
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