January - March 2013 Edition: Naples Health

JIM HART has faced plenty of formidable opponents in his day. As quarterback for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1966-1983, he had his share of victories and defeats. For three years running, he led the Cardinals to 10+ win seasons as well as to back-to- back division crowns. But it’s been in the past few years that Hart has faced perhaps his toughest and most dangerous opponent—Barrett’s esophagus, a condition in which the tissue lining the esophagus is replaced by tissue similar to the lining of the intestine. This intestinal metaplasia, as it’s called, can be a precursor to the development of esophageal cancer. Fortunately for Hart and millions of others, a new treatment can get rid of the abnormal cells of Barrett’s before they become full-blown cancers, reducing the need for more invasive surgery and other interventions. BARRETT’S AND THE RISK OF CANCER According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, Bar- rett’s esophagus affects about 1 percent of adults in the United States—about 3.3 million people. Each year about 86,000 new cases are diagnosed. Men are twice as likely to develop the condition as women, and Caucasian men appear more

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JANUARY-MARCH 2013 | Naples Health

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