This year, 20,000 people will be told they have Esophageal cancer. Now a capsule is being called a game-changer when it comes to detecting Esophageal cancer and it can be done in just minutes at your doctor’s office.
A capsule is being called a game-changer when it comes to detecting Esophageal cancer.
David Brown is one of the first people in the United States to try out a new test to detect a very dangerous cancer. A cancer that claimed his dad’s life.
David Brown said, “Throughout my childhood, he would be running to the restroom and vomiting. He became jaundice that was due to liver metastasis, you know, from Esophageal cancer.”
David already struggles with severe heartburn.
“I just a really bad stomachache that went on for days,” said Brown.
Jason Samarasena, MD, Interventional Gastroenterologist, UC Irvine said, “A lot of people live with reflux, live with Barrett’s esophagus, live with a soft shield cancer, and they just don’t know it.”
Until now the only way to detect Esophageal cancer would be with an Endoscopy, where patients are sedated, a flexible camera is fed through the mouth, down to the stomach, taking four to five hours out of the patient’s day.
The new Cytosponge takes just seven minutes — without sedation. The capsule, the size of a multivitamin, is connected to a string. The patient swallows the capsule, the outer coating dissolves in their stomach, releasing an expandable sponge. The doctor then pulls the string.
“As we’re pulling on the string, the sponges touching the esophageal tissue and collecting cells, and it collects about 500,000 cells throughout the esophagus,” said Doctor Samarasena.
The cells are then analyzed for any signs of cancer.
“I really do think this is a game-changer for this disease,” said Doctor Samarasena.
A lifesaver encompassed in tiny capsule.
Not all Esophageal cancers can be prevented, but the risk of developing this disease can be greatly reduced by avoiding certain risk factors such as tobacco and alcohol.
Obesity has been linked with Esophageal cancer and getting treated for reflux or Barrett’s esophagus is crucial to avoid getting cancer.