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Learn about Barrett's Esophagus


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Ablation – A technique used to treat pre-cancerous tissue found in the esophagus by burning the cells. Different techniques including photodynamic therapy, thermal ablation and radiofrequency ablation have all
been used.

Acid Reflux – see Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease



Barrett’s Esophagus – Barrett’s Esophagus is caused by stomach acid and bile consistently damaging the lining of the esophagus. This damage can result in a change of the color and composition of the lining’s cells. In some patients, the changing cells can become pre-cancerous or eventually develop into Esophageal cancer.

Benign – not cancerous; used in reference to a harmless growth.

Biopsy  – the collection of a sample of tissue from a patient to test whether it is cancerous. Doctors must cut this sample out from patients.



Cancer – Disease characterized by abnormal growth and multiplication of cells in an uncontrolled fashion. Cancer cells can invade nearby tissues and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to
other parts of the body.

Cellvizio© – the real-time in vivo cellular imaging platform. This technology enables physicians to accelerate diagnosis, better inform treatment and improve therapy delivery. Used globally across a wide range of medical specialties, Cellvizio is revolutionizing the way physicians diagnose and treat patients.

Chemotherapy – Treatment with anticancer drugs.

Cryotherapy – Spraying a super-cooled liquid or gas onto the diseased lining of the esophagus.



Dysplasia – Abnormal tissue cells that can develop into cancer.

Diagnosis – A process of identifying a disease by the signs and symptoms.



Endomicroscopy – A technique of looking at internal tissue at the cellular level that may aid doctors to more accurately diagnose or rule out cancer or disease. (See also pCLE)

Endomucosal Resection (EMR) – In this technique, saline is injected under the suspicious lesion to lift it up from the submucosal layer of tissue and it is then cut off with a snare. The edges of the incision can be checked to ensure that the lesion has been completely removed and if there is evidence that the pre-cancerous cells have spread into the submucosal layer of the esophagus.

Endoscopy – The practice of using an endoscope, a flexible tube with a small camera on it, to look inside the body. Different endoscopes are used to look at different parts of the body.

Esophagus – The muscular tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach.

Esophageal Adenocarcinoma (EAC) – Cancer that arises from the lining of the esophagus and resembles cancers found in the stomach and intestinal tract.

Esophagectomy – The surgical removal of the esophagus that involves removing the patient’s esophagus and top part of the stomach. A portion of the stomach is then pulled up into the chest and connected to the remaining portion of the esophagus. The patient then has a “new” esophagus.





Gastroenterologist – Physician who specializes in diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, pancreas, liver,
gallbladder, and biliary system.

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – A condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach). This action can
irritate the esophagus, causing heartburn and other symptoms.

GERD  – See Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease



High-Grade Dysplasia – The most advanced stage of dysplasia with unusual changes in many of the cells and a very abnormal, distorted growth pattern. The cells are contained within the lining of the
esophagus and have not spread to other areas. High-grade dysplasia indicates an increased risk of developing cancer of the esophagus. Not all people with high-grade dysplasia will develop cancer.



Intestinal Metaplasia – Another term for Barrett’s esophagus. Intestinal metaplasia, also known as IM, is the least serious stage of Barrett’s esophagus. The tissue in the esophagus has begun to change genetically and the tissue resembles the lining of the stomach rather than the normal lining of the esophagus.







Low-Grade Dysplasia – Unusual changes in the cells that do not involve most of the cells. The growth pattern of the cells is still normal. Less than 50% of the abnormal cells have begun to change in size, shape, or
organization and may show an increase in their growth rate. The cells are contained within the lining of the esophagus and have not spread to other areas.



Malignancy- – Cancerous cells that have the ability to spread, invade, and destroy tissue. These cells spread to other parts of the body.

Malignant  –  Cancerous.



Neoplasms  – Tumor; new, abnormal growth of tissue.






pCLE – Probe-Based Confocal Laser Endomicroscopy – a category of medical imaging technology used to view tissue inside the body at the cellular level that may aid doctors to more accurately diagnose or rule out cancer or disease.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT) – A technique that is used to treat pre-cancerous cells in patients with Barrett’s Esophagus and other conditions. It involves using a drug that produces as form of oxygen that kills
nearby cells after it’s exposed to a specific wavelength of light.





Radio Frequency Ablation – A procedure that uses radio waves to heat and destroy abnormal cells. The radio waves travel through electrodes (small devices that carry electricity). Radiofrequency ablation may
be used to treat cancer and other conditions.



Surveillance endoscopy – When a patient undergoes an upper endoscopy procedure on a regular basis. The frequency of the endoscopy is determined by the physician



Targeted biopsy – a visual examination of tissue performed in vivo, in real-time, at the microscopic level enabling the characterization of cells.

Thermal Ablation – A procedure using heat to remove tissue or a part of the body, or destroy its function.