Barrett's esophagus

Overview

What is Barrett's esophagus?

Barrett's esophagus is a disorder where normal tissue of the esophagus is replaced by tissue similar to the lining of your intestine. People with Barrett's esophagus have a higher chance to get a rare type of cancer called esophageal adenocarcinoma, however, most people with Barrett's esophagus do not get esophageal cancer.

The esophagus is a muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach and is made of different layers. The esophagus carries food and liquids from the throat to the stomach. Cancer of the esophagus begins in cells that make the inside layer of the esophagus called the mucosa. Normally the inside layer of the esophagus is made of cells called squamous cells. In Barrett's esophagus the squamous cells that make the mucosa of the esophagus are replaced by glandular cells. Glandular cells are similar to cells that line the intestine. When cancer develops in squamous cells it is called squamous cell carcinoma, and when cancer develops in glandular cells it is called adenocarcinoma.

The diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus is usually done by a special doctor called a gastroenterologist. A gastroenterologist is a doctor with special training in treating disorders of the digestive tract and liver. To learn more about Barrett's esophagus speak with your physician, or ask for a referral to a gastroenterologist. You can also locate a gastroenterologist in your area by using the Find a Gastroenterologist tool on the American College of Gastroenterology website.

SOURCE: Emory University - Department of Human Genetics in collaboration with ThinkGenetic • https://www.thinkgenetic.com/diseases/barrett-esophagus/overview/5101 • DATE UPDATED: 2019-06-25

References

"Barrett's Esophagus." National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidneys Diseases. 10 May 2015. Web. 28 Dec. 2015. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/barretts-esophagus/Pages/definition-facts.aspx

"What is Esophagus Cancer? Topics" American Cancer Society Web. June 2016. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/esophaguscancer/detailedguide/esophagus-cancer-what-is-cancer-of-the-esophagus

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