What Are the Patient-Centered Approaches in Barrett’s Esophagus Treatment?

What Are the Patient-Centered Approaches in Barrett's Esophagus Treatment?

Patient-Centered Approaches Take Center Stage in Barrett’s Esophagus Treatment

Barrett’s esophagus, a condition where abnormal cells replace normal cells in the esophagus, is often a precursor to esophageal cancer. However, new guidelines emphasize a patient-centered approach that considers both medical evidence and individual preferences in treatment decisions.

Considering Patient Values

For patients with low-grade dysplasia, which indicates the presence of abnormal cells, the guideline suggests either removing or monitoring the cells. “The key is to engage in shared decision-making with patients,” explains Dr. Tarek Sawas, co-author of the guideline. “By discussing the risks and benefits of treatment, we can tailor the approach to each patient’s values.”

Addressing High-Grade Dysplasia

For patients with high-grade dysplasia, a more advanced stage of cellular changes, the guideline recommends endoscopic eradication therapy. This minimally invasive procedure removes pre-cancerous cells, significantly reducing the risk of esophageal cancer.

Weighing Treatment Options

Patients undergoing endoscopic eradication can often be treated with endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR), a lower-risk procedure. However, endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) may be necessary for lesions suspected of harboring deeper cancers. “The decision between EMR and ESD should be made in consultation with experienced endoscopists,” advises Dr. Joel Rubenstein, another co-author of the guideline.

Monitoring and Expert Care

Patients with Barrett’s esophagus should receive care from specialized endoscopists and pathologists who have expertise in treating this condition. Regular monitoring is essential to detect any changes and ensure appropriate treatment.

Lifestyle Modifications

Beyond medical interventions, the guideline emphasizes healthy lifestyle choices. “Avoiding tobacco use and maintaining a healthy weight can significantly impact Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal cancer outcomes,” says Dr. Rubenstein.

Shared Decision-Making

“The cornerstone of Barrett’s esophagus management is shared decision-making,” emphasizes Dr. Sawas. “By involving patients in the decision-making process, we can ensure that treatment aligns with their individual needs, preferences, and values.”

This individualized approach ensures that patients with Barrett’s esophagus receive the most appropriate treatment, considering both the medical evidence and their own values and goals.

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