Thursday, December 4, 2008
Medical Reports: Remove The Risk
Millions of Americans suffer from heartburn, but there is a much more serious condition that can develop and could cause cancer. Now a local hospital has a new procedure that is removing the risk. Seven's Diana Diaz shows us.
WSVN -- As a general manager of an importing company, 37-year-old Tulio Guerrero stays very busy, but a painful problem was slowing him down.
Tulio Guerrero: "We always thought it was heartburn. Maybe I ate too much pizza or something like that."
The burning he felt kept him up at night. Many times it was so bad he had to run to the bathroom to get sick.
Tulio Guerrero: "It's burning all the way from the middle of your chest, all the way up to your throat and into your mouth."
But what he thought was heartburn turned out to be a much more serious condition called chronic reflux disease.
Dr. Barry Migicovsky, Gastroenterologist, Memorial Regional Hospital: "Reflux is the content of the stomach, where it is acid or non-acid, refluxing back up into the esophagus."
And that led to Tulio getting Barrett's Esophagus, a pre-cancerous condition.
Dr. Barry Migicovsky: "That's where part of the lining of the stomach replaces lining of the esophagus. These people have an increased risk of developing cancer."
In the past, all doctors could do was monitor the situation and look for cancer, but now there's a new procedure to remove the risk of getting cancer of the esophagus. It's called the Halo System. It uses radio frequencies to destroy the bad tissue.
Dr. Barry Migicovsky: "You literally burn the tissue, as simple as that."
Here's how it works: The patient is sedated, then the doctor uses an endoscope to look for any abnormalities. A catheter is guided into the esophagus, then radio-frequency energy is delivered to the targeted tissue, zapping the pre-cancerous spots. The whole procedure takes about 30 minutes.
Dr. Barry Migicovsky: "So we get the underlying abnormal cells without causing any problems to the esophagus later on."
The downside, patients often need multiple treatments. Tulio has had the procedure four times, and he may need a few more.
In the meantime, he's taking steps to reduce his stomach acid, including cutting out soda and fried foods, but knowing his risk of developing esophageal cancer will be gone makes it all worth it.
Tulio Guerrero: "I get to live longer. That's step one. Two, it means eating healthier. That's what I have to do."
Diana Diaz: "Doctors tell us the success rate of using this procedure is greater than 90 percent."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Barry Migicovsky
Emerald Hills Professional Park
4700 Sheridan Street, Suite F
Hollywood, FL 33021
Tel: (954) 961-8400