Barrett's Esophagus

Barrett's esophagus is a condition of the esophagus (swallowing tube) in which the normal white lining of the esophagus has been replaced by an abnormal red lining called specialized intestinal metaplasia. It occurs in about 10% of people who have chronic or longstanding gastroesophageal reflux disease (heartburn). Barrett's esophagus is a precancerous lining in which a type of esophageal cancer called adenocarcinoma can develop but the risk of cancer is low in most patients. At the present time, no one can predict which patients with Barrett's esophagus will develop cancer. It is, therefore, recommended that all patients who have Barrett's esophagus have their esophagus periodically checked to detect cancer when it is early and curable.