If you knew you were at risk for getting cancer, wouldn't you want to do something to lower that risk? As Nancy Naeve Brown reports a Sioux Falls woman did after discovering years of acid reflux made the lining of her esophagus grow abnormally.
Edie Pfaff (pronounced Paff) from Sioux Falls was diagnosed 9 years ago with Barrett's esophagus. A pre-cancerous condition caused from chronic acid reflux. Edie's Gastroenterologist Dr. Steven Condron showed us what Edie's esophagus lining looked like near the opening of the stomach. It should look creamy white. Until she had an endoscopy, she didn't have symptoms of Barrett's she only had symptoms from reflux.
Edie says, "It comes up in my throat at night. Were you miserable? Yes, miserable. I slept in my recliner many a nights."
In February, Edie decided to be proactive about her increased risk of esophageal cancer. She went in for an ablation.
Dr. Condron says, "She was treated originally with this halo procedure. We apply a probe down the esophagus and deploy heat through a computer generated mechanism and its radio frequency delivered so it's very carefully controlled. We only destroy surface of esophagus and what grows up in it after the treatment is very normal appearing tissue in a majority of patients that are treated. So it's like a chemical peel to the esophagus."
This is Edie's third ablation treatment. Dr. Condron waits about 4-6 weeks between sessions and then rechecks to make sure all tiny little dimples of Barrett's tissue are gone. He found 2 little spots, burned them off and declared victory. Dr. Condron strongly believes this is the last ablation she'll need.
Edie says, "I had been restricted with what I could eat, but I can eat more now than I have been able to for a long time and I can sleep lying down."
Edie says this course of treatment has been a great experience. She doesn't remember the procedure, she feels so much better than she did. She's emotionally healthier too knowing her scare for esophageal cancer has been safely burned into oblivion.
Edie was sent home after each treatment on an aggressive prescription antacid regiment and won't need another endoscopy for at least 5 years.