Journal Mobile

RGP Watson
Journal Issue: 
Volume 39: Issue 1: 2009




Barrett’s  oesophagus  is  common  and  there  is  evidence  that  it  is becoming more common. This is significant because of the malignant potential of the  condition. The  professional  gastroenterology  societies  of  the  UK  and  USA now recommend 2–3 yearly endoscopic surveillance with systematic biopsies for those diagnosed with Barrett’s oesophagus. However, surveillance is controversial because the number of patients identified with early cancer is relatively small for the  large  amount  of  work  that  is  required.  In  the  future  it  is  hoped  that  new imaging  techniques  should  help  target  biopsies  more  effectively  and  new therapeutic endoscopic techniques should enable some patients to avoid mutilating surgery and offer therapy to patients who had previously been considered unfit for  surgery. At  present,  chemoprevention  and  population  screening  for  Barrett’s oesophagus  offer  the  best  chance  of  reducing  the  current considerable  national mortality from oesophageal cancer.