What is Barrett’s Esophagus?
Barrett’s esophagus (BE) is a condition in which the cellular lining on the esophagus is damaged by gastric contents and changed into a lining similar to that of the stomach. Once this change occurs it turns salmon pink in color. The esophagus is a tube 10-13 inches (25-33 cm) long and about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide that carries food from the mouth towards the stomach. Normally, the esophagus has squamous epithelial cells. These cells resemble skin cells, and appear smooth and pinkish-white.
BE is frequently present in individuals with gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD). Only a few individuals with Barrett’s esophagus are at risk to go on to develop cancer of the esophagus. Because esophageal cancer can be so lethal cancer prevention, early detection, and early treatment maybe worthwhile.
These types of new, pre-cancerous cells are known as specialized columnar cells. When specialized columnar cells appear, whether or not the GERD is managed and the esophagus heals, the abnormal cells remain and aren’t substituted with normal cells. The presence of patches of such abnormal red cells within the esophagus is recognized as Barrett’s esophagus. The disorder is named after the British surgeon Norman Barrett.
Cancer, which develops via Barrett’s esophagus, is known as esophageal adenocarcinoma. This kind of cancer is not able to occur unless the normal cells lining the esophagus happen to be damaged and substituted with irregular Barrett’s cells.