Guest: Dr. Paul Cartwright raises awareness for esophageal cance - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Guest: Dr. Paul Cartwright raises awareness for esophageal cancer

(WTVM) -

April is Esophageal Cancer Month. It's a brutal type of cancer that kills 80 percent of patients within five years of diagnosis.

Dr. Paul Cartwright, Bariatric Surgeon with Columbus Regional Health, stopped by the WTVM Studio to spread awareness of the disease. He says esophageal cancer is so deadly, because it is silent.

"The problem with esophagus cancer is that it, in and of itself, doesn't really have symptoms," Cartwright says. "You basically don't get any symptoms until the cancer is so big that it obstructs your esophagus, and you can't drink or eat anything."

Cartwright says researchers have recently learned that most of the esophagus cancer now is caused by reflux.

"That reflux is from the acid in your stomach washing back into your esophagus, and causing this chemical burn, basically," he says.

The chemical burn causes the esophagus to grow a new inner lining that is not supposed to be there.

"Anytime you've got cells growing where they're not supposed to be, that's the most basic definition of cancer," Cartwright explains.

He says a lot of people develop a precancerous lesion called Barrett's Esophagus. "Barrett's Esophagus is something we can treat, we can get rid of about 97 to 98 percent of the time."

For more information on Barrett's Esophagus, call Midtown Medical Center at (706)660-2950, and ask about the Barrett's Esophagus: Symptoms and Treatment event on Thursday, April 24, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Midtown Medical Center is located at 710 Center St. in Columbus, Ga.

Copyright 2014 WTVM. All rights reserved.

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