It has been argued that Barrett’s Oesophagus is the most important identifiable risk factor in oesophageal adenocarcinoma (gullet cancer). This can occur as a result of chronic acid reflux, causing cell changes in the oesophagus which in some cases can progress to cancer. Chronic heartburn with more than 3 to 4 episodes per week is a risk for Barrett’s Oesophagus and until recently, Barrett’s Oesophagus could only be detected by endoscopy.
The Cytosponge cell* collection device is a new innovative way to detect Barrett’s Oesophagus in at risk patients and is an option for those at higher risk of Barrett’s Oesophagus, leading to early stage treatment and cancer prevention.
The Cytosponge is a capsule containing a soft, compressed mesh sponge, attached to a fine string. It can detect changes in the cells lining the oesophagus and diagnose Barrett’s Oesophagus** more simply and comfortably compared to endoscopy.
How does the Cytosponge cell work?
The capsule is swallowed by the patient and after several minutes, a small, soft sponge emerges from the capsule. The sponge is then gently removed by pulling on the string in a smooth, quick motion. As the sponge is pulled up and out it collects cells from the lining of the oesophagus. The whole process takes less than 10 minutes.
Professor Grant Fullarton is a Consultant General Surgeon who specialises on gastroenterology.