Risk of cancer in Barrett’s esophagus

Dear Ms. Atwater,
Don’t let your weekend be ruined.  If you have Barrett’s esophagus, your risk of cancer is still low – it is just higher than your risk if you did not have Barrett’s esophagus. There are about 16,000 new cases of esophagus cancer in the US whereas, for example there are over 200,000 new cases per year of lung and prostate cancer.   In a way you are lucky since you know you are at risk so you can be monitored.  There ARE ways to have the Barrett cells removed but the reason your doctor will probably not suggest them is because these methods (called radiofrequency abblation – the trade name is BARRX) are not without complications and the risk of troubles from the treatment is higher than the risk of developing cancer. 
 
Elizabeth Montgomery, MD