WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- James Revier, of San Jose, Calif., had no idea his heartburn was anything more than a nuisance until six years ago, when a piece of beef became logged in his esophagus and sent him to the emergency room.
The on-call internist removed the meat and suggested Revier see a gastroenterologist for the lingering redness. It's a good thing he did. Revier had developed Barrett's esophagus, a condition caused by prolonged acid reflux. Over time, it produces cellular changes which can lead to adenocarcinoma, a type of esophageal cancer.