The definitions below are intended to provide you with a general understanding of the terms. Refer to a medical professional for more detailed information and to address any questions you may have.
Esophagectomy: The surgical removal of the esophagus for the treatment of adenocarcinoma which involves removing the patient's esophagus and top part of the stomach. A portion of the stomach is then pulled up into the chest and connected to the remaining normal portion of the esophagus. The patient then has a "new" esophagus made up of the normal portion of the esophagus not removed at surgery connected to a portion of the stomach pulled up into the chest.
Esophagus: Muscular tube that carries food, liquids and saliva from the mouth to the stomach. The esophagus transports food from the mouth to the stomach by coordinated contractions of its muscular lining.
Gastroenterologist: Physician who specializes in diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the gastrointestinal tract including the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and biliary system.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Regurgitation of the stomach contents into the esophagus. Almost everyone experiences gastroesophageal reflux at some time. The most common symptom is heartburn, an uncomfortable burning sensation behind the breastbone, usually occurring after a meal. In some individuals this reflux is frequent or severe enough to cause more significant problems. GERD is a clinical condition that occurs when reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus is severe enough to impact the patient's life and/or damage the esophagus.
GERD Medications: H2 blockers such as ranitidine (Zantac®), cimetidine (Tagamet HB 200®), and famotidine (Pepcid®) are drugs that block one of the ways in which the stomach is stimulated to produce acid. Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs) such as omeprazole (Prilosec OTC®), esomeprazole (Nexium®), and lansoprazole (Prevacid) are medications that block histamines which in turn block acid production in the stomach.
High Grade Dysplasia: The most advanced stage of dysplasia with atypical changes in many of the cells and a very abnormal growth pattern of the glands. The growth pattern of the glands, or rows of cells, is distorted or very irregular. High-grade dysplasia is the diagnosis most widely used to identify a group of Barrett's patients who are at increased risk of developing adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. Not all patients who have high-grade dysplasia develop cancer.
Malignancy: Cancerous cells that have the ability to spread, invade and destroy tissue. These cells tend to grow rapidly, invade and destroy nearby tissue, and may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Those cells resistant to treatment may return after being removed or destroyed.