People who have been suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) for a long period of time have a high risk of developing Barrett’s oesophagus. This condition is characterised by physiologic changes in the cells lining the oesophagus following prolonged exposure to gastric acid. Though patients with this condition do not usually experience any significant symptom associated with this change, the development of Barrett’s oesophagus increases the risk of cancer in the affected area. Patients with this condition experience recurring heartburn, chest pain, and difficulty in swallowing food and liquid. In advanced stages, the patient may even start vomiting blood and excrete bloody stools.
Due to the risk of developing cancer, patients with Barrett’s oesophagus are highly encouraged to obtain treatment as soon as possible. Advanced treatment for this condition is widely available in key cities in Southeast Asia, namely Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. In these countries, one can easily find internationally qualified gastroenterologists who are extensively trained in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of Barrett’s oesophagus. The best gastroenterologists in the region are often found at medical facilities accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI), an accreditation body that upholds the highest standards of quality medical care all over the world. Such hospitals feature state-of-the-art equipment for imaging and visualisation of internal organs, something that is quite useful in diagnosing the condition and designing a suitable treatment programme for patients.
The treatment of Barrett’s oesophagus depends on the severity of the disease. In some cases, it can be managed by treating the underlying GERD symptoms while in others, endoscopic resection is performed in which damaged cells are removed. Other treatment modalities include the use of extreme cold temperature, radiofrequency, and surgery. After-treatment procedures, such as periodic endoscopy for the monitoring of any changes in the oesophagus lining, are also necessary to prevent recurrence and other complications. All these treatments, which require the use of specialised tools and machines, are readily available at several globally recognised medical centres in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.