Barrett's Oesophagus
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WBLL
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Quote WBLL Replybullet Topic: Concerned
    Posted: 20 Oct 2018 at 2:26pm
Hello

I am new to this. I was just diagnosed with Barrett’s two days ago. I am having a hard time sleeping and have become depressed. I am 50 years old and had an endoscopy done due to some ongoing reflux the last 20 years. I had an endoscopy done 16 years ago that was normal. This time the doctor found an irregular z line with 2 toungues around 1 cm long. Biopsy was positive to interstitial metaplasia. No Dysplasia. I was placed on a PPI 40 mg a day just yesterday, prior to that I was on H2 blocker only at night for years. So I am struggling with the thought of Barrett’s turning into cancer and see articles where it is anywhere from .5% per year to 0.01% per year. I would like to live 40 years so am I looking at a 20% chance in 40 years of my Barrett’s Turing In to cancer? I am having a really hard time with this. Thanks!
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chrisrob
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Quote chrisrob Replybullet Posted: Yesterday at 9:10am
Hello and welcome to the forum.

Firstly, I am fairly certain you will not get oesophageal cancer. The risks are actually very small.

In the USA, population is around 325 million of whom probably about 16 million have Barrett's. (We don't know the actual number without screening the entire population which isn't practical but this guesstimate comes from Mayo Clinic.) Of those, around 16 thousand will die each year from oesophageal cancer, making the risk of progression about one in a thousand or 0.1% p.a. However, as with tossing a dice, the risk isn't cumulative and your chance of getting cancer is probably the same next year as it is this year. In fact, studies have shown, if it is going to progress, it is more likely to do so in the first year or two after diagnosis.

I know I have had my own Barrett's at least 24 years and probably much longer and am no more risk now than I was 20 years ago.

Having been diagnosed, you are one of the lucky ones. You know to take acid suppressant medication which probably reduces that risk even further and will have regular surveillance scopes every few years to check it there are no signs of progression ("dysplasia") whence it could be ablated to prevent the cancer occurring. (Those at risk are those who have Barrett's but don't know it and won't discover it before it's too late.)

The other thing going for you is the size of your Barrett's segment which is very small. Some physicians won't actually classify < 1cm tongues as being Barrett's.

Think of your Barrett's cells as a natural protection thrown up by the body as a protection against acid attack. (See this story on the Barrett's Wessex website for a different way of looking at this.)

You may find the free encyclopaedia, Down With Acid helpful. You will find in the addenda you are not alone in your concerns about the condition but just recognise it for what it is. You have an increased risk of developing cancer but you're more likely to be hit by a truck.
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WBLL
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Quote WBLL Replybullet Posted: Yesterday at 10:55am
Thank you for the response. I am trying to not let this take over my life. Any advice on PPI during day and H2 blocker before bed?

Can probiotics play a role in helping against reflux?
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