New tool for early cancer detection?
Cancer of the lower esophagus develops almost exclusively in patients with Barrett's esophagus, an otherwise benign complication of esophageal reflux that affects approximately 3 million Americans. Although the prognosis of patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer is poor, the chances of successful treatment increase significantly if the disease is detected at an early dysplastic stage.
Now, a new endoscopic scanning technique developed by scientists in the Biomedical Imaging and Spectroscopy Laboratory (BISL) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has proven successful in the early detection of dysplasia in Barrett's esophagus. The results of the study, which appear in the April 11 on-line issue of the journal Nature Medicine, could help clinicians to diagnose esophageal cancer at an earlier stage, when the condition is still treatable.
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