Barrett's esophagus increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer. Esophageal cancer is extremely rare, but it is important to undergo routine examinations that include imaging and extensive biopsies to look for precancerous cells (dysplasia). By detecting precancerous cells, esophageal cancer can be prevented.
Barrett's esophagus is typically caused by long-standing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Frequent heartburn and regurgitation of stomach contents
- Difficulty swallowing food
- Less commonly, chest pain
It is interesting to note that half of the patients with Barrett's esophagus do not experience symptoms of acid reflux. In this case, it is best to consult your doctor about the possibility of Barrett's esophagus as soon as possible.