Podcast: Radiofrequency Ablation for Barrett's Esophagus
Jan. 21, 2010 – In this episode of Cancer Connection, Siteman Cancer Center gastroenterologist Steven Edmundowicz, MD, discusses a new procedure to treat Barrett's esophagus and prevent it from progressing to esophageal cancer. The procedure, called radiofrequency ablation, uses heat energy to burn away precancerous cells from the lining of the esophagus. In preliminary results of a recent clinical study, ablation eliminated precancerous dysplasia in 80 percent of study participants. Although the risk of esophageal cancer is very low in patients with Barrett's esophagus – which is associated with gastroesophageal reflux, or heartburn – it is important to monitor and treat the condition. Early stage esophageal cancer is 90 percent curable, but once the disease becomes advanced, the cure rate drops to 5 percent.