Once diagnosed with Barrett's oesophagus, a patient enters a life-long surveillance program in which the physician performs upper endoscopy with biopsy to survey for progression of the Barrett's tissue to dysplasia or cancer.
Depending on the original stage of Barrett's oesophagus, the endoscopies are repeated as frequently as every 3-6 months, or as infrequently as every 3 years. 13 The individual physician determines how often to survey.
Because Barrrett's oesophagus is a disease without symptoms of its own, a patient won't know if the disease has progressed to a more serious stage or cancer until he or she undergoes their next upper endoscopy and biopsies.
Once high-grade dysplasia is detected, surveillance is not the only form of managing the disease. Some patients with high-grade dysplasia may have an endoscopic procedure to remove the diseased tissue, but the majority of those diagnosed with high-grade dysplasia are recommended to undergo an oesophagectomy to avoid progression to oesophageal cancer.