Gastroscopy biopsy

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Hi I had a gastroscopy 4 weeks ago and where 4 biopsies were taken .2 from lower oesophagus and 2 from mid oesophagus.Under findings the print out they gave me said a discrete 3 mm island of probable Barrett’s mucosa at 38 cm ( biopsies ) .The hospital told me it should take 3 weeks or so to get the results back.I have been worried as my mother had similar symptoms and she had a diffuse stomach cancer diagnosed at a similar age to myself .My mother died within a few weeks of her diagnosis.The hospital were aware of this history.I have just called and been told the biopsies can take 6-8 weeks to come back.But now I am worried that although the print out says S normal - which must mean stomach - we were told that my mothers cancer had not been apparent as it was in the lining around the stomach rather than the stomach itself .

The hospital gave me a leaflet on Barrett’s oesophagus - which is also worrying me as it seems to be saying it is a precancerous condition.In addition my symptoms are still ongoing and I was expecting some advice ? The worrying is really affecting me and constantly at the back of my mind - so not knowing how I can get through the next few weeks waiting .I would be grateful for some advice please ? 

  • Hello Yorkrose

    Thanks for getting in touch, and welcome to our online community. I see you have joined a few of our online forums, and I hope these have been helpful and informative. I'm sorry to read about the worry your recent procedure and biopsies have caused and having to wait for the results.

    My name is George, and I'm one of the Cancer Information Nurse Specialists on the Macmillan Support Line. Unfortunately, we do not have access to the NHS and personal medical records and can only give general information and support. 

    gastroscopy of the upper gastric tract is a very common procedure, and it's normal for the practitioner to take several biopsies even when all looks healthy. They are also looking for a bug in the stomach called H-Pyolri, which can be common and cause changes in the gastric tract over a very long period. This is treated very easily with antibiotics.

    Barrett's oesophagus is believed to affect 1% of the general population and is more common in men. Indeed, cell changes in the lower oesophagus caused often by acid reflux can carry the risk of changing and developing into cancer, but this is rare. Only around 3% of Barrett's oesophagus cases develop into cancer.

    Once identified, starting an antacid medication is normal to reduce the effects of your stomach acid inflaming the bottom of the oesophagus and hopefully stopping any further worsening of Barrett's oesophagus. You may also be asked to attend regular monitoring and gastroscopies to look for improvement or changes.

    Waiting for results can be a very worrying time. Results can take days up to weeks. It is advisable to contact your specialist if you have not had any results in 4 weeks to see when they are expected.

    I'm sorry to read about your mum's passing from stomach cancer. Stomach Cancer and Barrett's oesophagus are considered very different as one affects the stomach and the oesophagus. I can imagine that knowing your mum's cancer was in the stomach lining is concerning to you, and it may be advisable to speak with your specialist in case he believes a CT scan would help alleviate any associated fears you may have regarding this matter.  

    I hope you have found this information helpful. If you wish, you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or email us. 

    With best wishes

    George

    Macmillan Cancer Information Nurse Specialist 

    (Our Ref: GHi/KM)