Colorectal cancer screening leads the cancer prevention conversation in the GI field, but other types of GI cancer are also on the rise. A new study published in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology examines screening for Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Here are three things to know from the study.
• Though BE surveillance is recommended by medical societies, there are many challenges to overcome. There is a lack of an accurate and cost-effective screening tool and lack of a well-characterized screening population. There is also little evidence to demonstrate that screening will lead to improved outcomes.
• The study author acknowledges that standard endoscopy is not the ideal screening tool, but advances have been made in the field. There are non-endoscopic techniques such as balloon cytology and imaging techniques such as wireless capsule endoscopy.
• GERD is the strongest risk factor for BE and esophageal cancer, but a defined screening population has yet to be identified. Several studies have identified other risk factors including male sex, Caucasian race, age, obesity, smoking and family history.