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Barrett’s oesophagus is a condition where the specialised cells lining at the lower end of the oesophagus (swallowing tube) transforms to become similar to the specialised cells lining the inside of the small intestine. It is usually caused by gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) from the stomach into the oesophagus, which damages the oesophageal cells resulting in chronic inflammation which then triggers the change in the cells lining the lower oesophagus. There are usually no additional symptoms in Barrett’s oesophagus.
Barrett’s oesophagus has been associated with an increased risk of developing oesophageal cancer, specifically adenocarcinoma. In some patients, the repeated cycle of reflux, injury and chronic inflammation induces even further change in the specialised oesophageal cells, leading to a pre-cancerous change known as dysplasia, which results in an increased risk of developing cancer