Beaumont Health System opens second Center for Reflux and Esophageal Cancer Prevention

Beaumont Health System is opening a second on Tuesday, June 19 at Beaumont Hospital, Troy. A multidisciplinary team of board-certified gastroenterologists, surgeons, otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors), nurse clinicians, dietitians and speech and language pathologists will work collaboratively with patients and their primary care physicians to develop individualized plans of care.

The center is located at Beaumont, Troy in the Physician Office Building, suite 315. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 888-99-REFLUX (888-997-3358).

"Reflux can have serious consequences, says Richard Wille, M.D., chief of gasteroenterolgy and co-director, Center for Reflux and Esophageal Cancer Prevention at Beaumont, Troy. "If reflux isn't treated properly, it can cause damage to the esophagus, airways and lungs, and sometimes cancer of esophagus."

When left untreated, a common ailment such as acid reflux is known to lead to Barrett's esophagus, a pre-cancerous condition, or to esophageal cancer. Acid reflux has symptoms that may include: burning in the mid-chest; difficulty swallowing or the feeling that food is stuck in the throat; and having a sour taste in the mouth. Reflux is often overlooked as a major contributing factor to asthma, chronic sore throat, hoarseness and cough. While it is widely treated through the use of over-the-counter and prescription medications, often there are people who do not seek or receive appropriate treatment.

"Our team works to individualize treatment and resolve the symptoms to prevent esophageal cancer. The earlier cancer is detected and treated, the better the patient's survival rate," says Mark Herman, M.D., co-director, Center for Reflux and Esophageal Cancer Prevention, Troy.

Esophageal cancer accounts for about one percent of the total cancer diagnoses annually. Its prevalence is increasing. It has become the fastest growing cancer in incidence. The American Cancer Society estimates 17,460 new cases of esophageal cancer and 15,070 deaths in 2012. While the disease is thought to be largely preventable, the five-year relative survival rate for localized stages is 37 percent while the five-year relative survival rate for all stages combined is 17 percent.

Beaumont is the first health system in Southeast Michigan with two centers dedicated to offering a multidisciplinary approach for the diagnosis and treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease, Barrett's esophagus and esophageal cancer prevention. The Center for Reflux and Esophageal Cancer Prevention opened at Beaumont, Royal Oak in November 2010.