About 2% Of Adults Have Barrett's Esophagus

Risk factors include esophagitis, smoking and alcohol

FRIDAY, Dec. 30 (HealthDay News) -- A random screen of the adult Swedish population has found that the incidence of Barrett's esophagus (BE) is 1.6% -- data that may provide a target number for BE intervention strategies, according to the December issue of Gastroenterology.

Jukka Ronkainen, M.D., from the Primary Health Care Center in Keminmaa, Finland, and colleagues randomly selected a sample of 3,000 adults from a total of 21,610 in two municipalities to complete a questionnaire. Upper endoscopy was then performed on a subsample of 1,000 from this group.

The investigators found BE in 16 subjects (1.6%), reflux symptoms in 40% and esophagitis in 15%. The incidence of BE was higher in those with reflux symptoms (2.3%) and even higher in those with esophagitis (2.6%). Both smoking and alcohol consumption were risk factors for BE.

This study establishes population-based evidence for identifying those at risk for esophageal adenocarcinoma as recommended by the 2002 Report of the Stomach/Esophageal Cancers Progress Review Group of the National Cancer Institute, according to Richard E. Sampliner in an accompanying editorial. "This can serve as a target for the number of people who need to be identified in the community," he adds.

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