AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Doctors at Medical College of Georgia can now offer patients a more non-invasive screening for Esophageal Cancer.
The entertainment world went into shock at the news of the death of 50-year-old Traci Braxton, the singer and actress known as the sister to Grammy award winning Toni Braxton. Her family announced she died after a series of treatments for Esophageal Cancer.
Doctors at MCG told NewsChannel 6 it’s a type of cancer that goes under screened.
“There’s 20,000 people in Georgia diagnosed this year with esophageal cancer. A majority of them have this type of tumor that its main risk factor is acid reflux,” said Dr. Kenneth Vega, Professor & Chief of Division, Gastroenterology & Hepatology.
Doctors at MCG said Esophageal Cancer is usually discovered through an endoscopy screening, where patients are put to sleep and have to have a driver. Now, they are offering Eso Check, a non invasive tool used to accomplish the same goal.
“So, they just swallow that and it goes into the food pipe, the esophagus. Once it’s swallowed, with the assistance of some sips of water, we’ll inflate the device into a balloon,” Dr. John Erikson Yap, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Gastroenterology & Hepatology said.
Dr. Yap said that ballooned device collects cells as it moves back up the food pipe. From there, they can tell whether someone is positive or negative for esophageal cancer or Barrett’s esophagus, which is a risk factor. If positive, they do the endoscopy.
Dr. Vega said, “Because Esophageal Cancer is a cancer that actually presents fairly late, finding out early gives us the opportunity to try to treat you and obtain the best possible outcome.”
Non-Hispanic, white men over 50 are most at risk. Others who should be screened are anyone over 50, people with intermittent reflux, a high BMI, those with a family history of the disease and smokers. Some of the signs, which appear later are weight loss, food not passing or becoming stuck in your chest and vomiting. Eso Check is available now at AU Health.