Public Release:  Barrett's esophagus patients have same survival rates as general population

Mayo Clinic

ROCHESTER, Minn.-- New Mayo Clinic research has found that survival rates of patients with Barrett's esophagus, (http://www.mayoclinic.org/barretts-esophagus/) which can be a precursor for esophageal cancer, are no different than the survival rates for the general population. These findings were presented today at the 2009 American College of Gastroenterology (http://www.acg.gi.org/) (ACG) Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Barrett's esophagus is most often diagnosed in people who have long-term gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) -- a chronic regurgitation of acid from the stomach into the lower esophagus. A diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus can be concerning because it increases the risk of developing esophageal cancer.

"Patients who are diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus often fear they will develop esophageal cancer and not survive long," says Ganapathy Prasad, M.D., (http://www.mayoclinic.org/bio/12948837.html) gastroenterologist, Mayo Clinic and lead author on the study. "Our research examined the survival rates of Barrett's esophagus patients from Olmsted County, Minn., over the past three decades, compared to a control group of patients. We wanted to study overall survival, predictors of survival and ultimate cause of death in patients."

In this study of 366 patients, the average patient age was 63 years, with 72 percent men and 18 percent women. All patients with a diagnosis of Barrett's esophagus from 1977� were identified using the Rochester Epidemiology Project (http://mayoresearch.mayo.edu/mayo/research/rep/index.cfm) resources in Olmsted County and confirmed via review of medical records. Only patients from Olmsted County were selected to reduce referral and selection bias.

Survival data and cause of death was ascertained from medical records of the 366 patients. Overall survival at 10 years after diagnosis was 68 percent. Causes of death included 28 percent from cardiovascular disease, 7 percent from dementia and 7 percent from esophageal cancer. The overall survival of this group was comparable to that of a control sample from the 2000 U.S. census.

"Our population-based study found that Barrett's esophagus patients are at no greater risk of dying than the rest of the population," says Dr. Prasad. "Patients who receive this diagnosis should seek proper treatment and care, but should also know that their odds of dying from esophageal cancer are low."

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The Mayo Clinic Barrett's Esophagus Unit (http://www.mayoclinic.org/barretts-esophagus/rsttreatment.html) offers a multidisciplinary approach to evaluate early symptoms, devise a surveillance schedule and perform all tests and medical and surgical treatments.

Mayo Clinic's Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (http://www.mayoclinic.org/gi/) has been ranked No. 1 in the U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll of Top Hospitals since the rankings began 20 years ago.

About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy of "the needs of the patient come first." More than 3,300 physicians, scientists and researchers and 46,000 allied health staff work at Mayo Clinic, which has sites in Rochester, Minn., Jacksonville, Fla., and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. Collectively, the three locations treat more than half a million people each year. To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to www.mayoclinic.org/news. For information about research and education, visit www.mayo.edu. MayoClinic.com (www.mayoclinic.com) is available as a resource for your health stories.

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