Posts Tagged ‘Barrett’s’

Can Lifestyle Factors Reduce the Risk of Esophageal Cancer?

Friday, April 12th, 2013

logo1267406_mdRecent news from the Seattle Barrett’s Esophagus Program  at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in collaboration with Brigham & Women’s College and the University of California in San Francisco have shown that a systematic approach to early  cancer detection can boost five-year survival rates from about 15 percent to more than 80 percent. They  have also shown that modifiable lifestyle factors-from reducing obesity to quitting smoking–may also prevent progression of Barrett’s esophagus to esophageal cancer. Some of the ways to prevent this condition from progressing to esophageal cancer were identified and follow.

Earlier research in 2007 reported that people with the more aggressive form of Barrett’s may benefit gfrom preventive therapy with aspirin or other non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Following Barrett’s patients over time they identified a cluster of 4 known cancer bio markers  in this group that increased their risk of developing esophageal cancer. They found that subjects with 3 or more of these bio markers who also used aspirin or other no0nsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s)  had a 30 % chance of developing esophageal cancer after 10 years whereas those who did not use the aspirin had a 79% change of developing cancer with a decade. They believe aspirin and other non-steroidal inflammatory drugs may fight cancer by reducing chronic  inflammation. However, because this was a long term observational study and not a clinical trial they cannot recommend aspirin for people with Barrett’s and also advise that anyone wh uses them do so under medical direction because of the side effects such as g.i. bleeding.

Another study looked at Barrett’s and statin drugs for lowering cholesterol and found that various combinations of statin and/or NSAID’s used by patients with Barrett’s and and high grade dysplasia had a reduced risk of esophageal cancer when compared with those who did not use these drugs.

This year they lo0ked at lifestyle and esophageal cancer and found that heavy smokers with Barrett’s were more than twice as likely to develop esophageal cancer than non-smokers with Barrett’s. They also found that obesity especially belly fat, was more strongly associated with the progression of Barrett’s to esophageal cancer.

They also offered suggestions for managing the symptoms of chronic acid reflux that is a risk factor for Barrett’s. These included smoking cessation, keeping weight down, getting regular exercise, eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, refrain from eating four hours before retiring, elevate the head of your bed if you have heart burn, and take antacids for occasional heartburn and see you doctor if you have frequent heartburn or if over the counter medications do not help.