In a matter of minutes, more and more patients are decreasing their risks of cancer of the esophagus. With that in mind, Bobbie Moore looks forward to a preventive procedure. " I"m looking forward to getting rid of this acid reflux. My doctors say this will work," she said before her procedure.
When doctors take a look see in the esophagus they admire the normal white lining. Doctors were pleased. Moore responded to medication. Her esophagus had returned to normal.
However, the next patient had a red inflamed esophagus in places. That sight concerns doctors. Years of acid exposure from gastro reflux disease does that. Eventually it can lead to Barrett's Esophagus. Over time cells may break down and turn cancerous. More than 15,000 new esophageal cancer cases were diagnosed last year.
" These could be pre cancerous cells, " said Tadashi Morimoto, as he points to a video of a diseased esophagus. He's the territory manager for Barrx Medical. ( www.barrx.com ) The company markets the 'HALO' systems. Right now in East Texas they are used exclusively at Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital.
Technology created a long narrow catheter with a specially sized inflatable balloon on the end. In an outpatient procedure it's inserted into the esophagus. It's placed on the damaged site. Then for a second or less the diseased esophagus is seared. Just enough to get rid of the damaged tissue. Dr. Michael Mollot explains it this way. " Like putting your hand on a hot plate. Except this has a computer which is directing energy to delivery, so we can't over due it. " Other analogies are " like searing a steak," and " like a bad sunburn." A thin layer of the bad tissue is "burned" away.
Ethel Wheeler successfully underwent the procedure. Her life is remarkably different. " For so many years I think I self diagnosed and self medicated. I had been using over the counter, like Tums and stuff since I was in my late 20's."