It's a deadly disease that can start with something as common as heartburn. Researchers are taking a new approach to stop esophageal cancer before it spreads.
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Shaving off Esophageal Cancer Lee Porter: I’m almost like everybody else; everything is bad for you I like it. Luis Mitaly: Lee Porter loves food but food doesn’t always love him, for 40 years he lived with painful heartburn that led to an abnormality called barrett's esophagus. It just felt like somebody taking a hot iron putting down in your throat. Luis Mitaly: When he was diagnosed with early stage esophageal cancer, his doctor told him it could mean removing this esophagus. Lee Porter: They can go an end, cut you down here and pull your esophagus out and clip it off with a piercing and sew it back up and jam it back in your chest and I say “Well that don’t sound like it would be very much fun.” Luis Mitaly: The MAYO clinic offered him a less invasive alternative, endoscopic mucosal resection. Male: All right this is usually a special high definition endoscope. Luis Mitaly: Doctors enter the esophagus through an endoscope; they locate the cancer and suction the tissue into a special device that shaves off the cancer. Male: We place a little band around the base of the cancer and then we use this special cutting instrument called a snare to resects that cancer. Luis Mitaly: Study shows that the new less invasive treatment is just as effective as removing the esophagus for early stage cancers. Patients who undergo full removal spend days in the hospital and face life long eating restrictions. The new technique is an outpatient procedure and patients can eat full meals two days later. After surgery and successful treatment, Lee is back in the kitchen, grateful to be cancer and heartburn free and enjoying every bite. I’m Luis Mitaly reporting.