New treatment cures up to 350 oesophageal cancers in Irish hospitals

More than 5,000 patients registered on Ireland’s first registry for Barrett’s Oesophagus

Up to 350 patients with early-stage oesophageal cancer have been cured and spared major surgery over the past decade thanks to new treatment methods, new data reveals.

More than 5,000 patients have so far been registered on Ireland’s first registry for Barrett’s Oesophagus, of whom 254 had or developed early cancer that would in the past have required major surgery, the data from the registry shows.

Barrett’s is a condition arising from severe or chronic acid reflux that may dispose a person to oesophageal cancer. Ireland has one of the highest rates of oesophageal cancer in Europe, with a 25 per cent increase in cases over the past 20 years and 450 new diagnoses a year.


Many of those on the register were treated with radio frequency ablation therapy, administered via an endoscope, sometimes in association with minimally invasive surgery. This new therapy has revolutionised care for those whose cancer was diagnosed at the earliest stage.


“The Barrett’s registry enables the diagnosis of patients at an early cancer stage. This makes all the difference, and for these patients our recent report highlights that we have proven excellent outcomes in Ireland, with high cure rates and minimum morbidity and maintenance of good quality of life,” said Prof John Reynolds, national lead for oesophageal cancer, based at St James’s Hospital in Dublin.

The registry is supported by the Oesophageal Cancer Fund, which is holding its annual fundraising event, Lollipop Day, on March 1st and 2nd.

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen

Paul Cullen is Health Editor of The Irish Times