Serenity Gastroenterology

Barrett's Oesophagus Treatment in Brisbane

What is Barrett’s oesophagus?

Barrett’s oesophagus

You’re at higher risk of developing Barrett’s oesophagus if you:

  • Are a white male over the age of 50
  • Have a family history of Barrett’s oesophagus or oesophageal cancer
  • Have GERD that has not improved on medication
  • Smoke or have smoked in the past
  • Are carrying excess fat around your abdomen

The main concern with Barrett’s oesophagus is that it may progress to oesophageal cancer. This is a less common type of cancer but it has a fairly poor survival rate – only 1 in 5 people live more than 5 years after their diagnosis.

Early identification and management of both GERD and Barrett’s oesophagus can help to reduce the risk of cancer developing.

To diagnose Barrett’s oesophagus, we need to look inside using a procedure called gastroscopy. This involves passing a thin tube (gastroscope) with a camera on the end through your mouth and along your oesophagus to look for any changes in your cells and biopsy any tissue that could indicate Barrett’s oesophagus.

The results of the biopsy tell us which stage your Barrett’s oesophagus has reached. You may have:

  • No dysplasia – meaning Barrett’s is present but there are no precancerous changes in your cells
  • Low-grade dysplasia – your cells show small signs of precancerous changes
  • High-grade dysplasia – your cells have changed significantly and you’ve reached the final stage before they change into cancer cells.

The American Gastroenterology Association recommends screening for people who meet at least 3 of the following criteria:

  • Male
  • Caucasian
  • Aged over 50
  • History of smoking
  • Chronic GERD
  • Obesity
  • Family history of Barrett’s oesophagus or oesophageal adenocarcinoma.

Treatment for Barrett’s oesophagus depends on its stage.

If you have no dysplasia, your doctor may recommend:

  • A follow-up endoscopy every 2-3 years to monitor for any changes
  • Treatment for GERD, including medication, lifestyle changes, weight loss or surgery

If you have low-grade dysplasia, your doctor may recommend:

  • Watchful waiting with another endoscopy in 6 months
  • Endoscopic resection to remove damaged cells
  • Radiofrequency ablation which uses heat to remove abnormal tissue
  • Cyotherapy, which freezes and thaws the abnormal cells using an endoscope to stop further changes.

If you have high-grade dysplasia, which is a precursor to oesophageal cancer, your doctor may recommend:

  • Endoscopic resection
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Cryotherapy
  • Lifelong acid-reducing medications
  • Surgery to remove the damaged part of your oesophagus and attach the remainder to your stomach
  • Ongoing surveillance

How can Serenity Gastroenterology help?

At Serenity Gastroenterology we provide comprehensive and personalised assessment and management of Barrett’s oesophagus through specialist consultation, endoscopy and prescribing.