Daily Express - 4th August 2009
"Pioneering cancer treatment made me allergic to sunlight"

Eamonn Barry tells Adrian Lee how medication for Barrett's Oesophagus turned his life upside down.

Daily Express article

Thursday 30 July 2009
Synopsis of BBC Radio 4 Case Notes with Dr Mark Porter.

Listen again to Dr Mark Porter on Case Notes on BBC Radio 4, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00ls6bq

Mark is exploring the diagnosis and treatment of Barrett's oesophagus. He finds out how it is dealt with at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.

The programme helps listeners understand what Barrett’s Oesophagus is, how it’s caused and how it can be diagnosed and treated.

Rebecca Fitzgerald, a consultant Gastroenterologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, talks about how Barrett’s is diagnosed and the range of treatments available. Mr Richard Hardwick, a consultant surgeon also at Addenbrooke’s hospital, discusses surgical treatment for oesophageal cancer and how this can now be done as a keyhole technique.

Three patients share their experiences.

Richard Logan, was having his Barrett’s monitored when he developed early cancerous changes. He opted to test a new treatment - Radio Frequency Ablation, a treatment that burns away the abnormal lining of the gullet without requiring open surgery. The treatment is still being evaluated in trials but the data so far is very encouraging. Richard found attending meetings held by the Barrett’s Campaign helped him to understand the illness and know the range of treatment options available.

Ann Goddard, who was diagnosed at a later stage of the condition, had to undergo more radical treatment and have part of her gullet surgically removed. While she still has to watch her food intake, eating little and often, after a year, she is now virtually back to normal and very thankful that it was caught in the relatively early stages.

Rebecca Fitzgerald described a new, quicker and easier way to diagnose the condition which has resulted from research in her laboratory at the MRC Cancer Cell Unit in Cambridge. This involves the patient swallowing a “capsule” on a length of string. The capsule dissolves after a few minutes releasing a sponge which then collects cells from the oesophagus (gullet) as it is withdrawn by pulling on the string. A molecular test is then performed in her laboratory to diagnose the Barrett’s cells. This capsule sponge test can be performed in a GP surgery and is much easier than the traditional procedure of an endoscopy.

Elizabeth Evans had her Barrett’s diagnosed when she took part in the trial evaluating this test which is called the BEST study www.beststudy.org.uk. Elizabeth is so relieved that the condition has been diagnosed so that she can be monitored for any more serious changes. Dr Mark Porter himself tried the capsule test and said that “it wasn’t as bad as I thought” and he was pleased to know that he did not have Barrett’s oesophagus!

Link to the programme

Podcast by Laurence Lovat on his research

The podcast by Laurence Lovat (Consultant gastroenterologist) at UCL carrying out Radio Halo ablation of Barrett’s Epithelium is taken from one on the Cancer Research UK website and is also available as a transcript.

With special thanks to Anna Lacey, who made the package.

US TV highlights oesophageal cancer

Oesophageal cancer was highlighted in US TV programme Good Morning America recently.

To illustrate the rising number of cases of the disease, a 41-year-old man was featured who was shocked to find he had oesophageal cancer but the programme also showed live a diagnostic test using a nasal scope on a man with Barrett’s Oesophagus.

The article can be read at www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/story?id=7165175&page=1 and the video viewed from the page or the video can be viewed directly at www.abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=7167408

25 March 2009


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