Principal Investigator: Amanda Guentner, MD
No one wants to hear the “C” word. Even the slightest hint of a cancer risk is, understandably, frightening—even when all signs point to a positive outcome.
Chronic regurgitation of stomach acid can damage the esophagus and eventually lead to a condition known as Barrett’s esophagus (BE). Patients with BE are at risk for esophageal adenocarcinoma (cancer of the esophagus), which strikes about 3 to 4 Americans out of 100,000 each year. While a variety of advanced treatments such as endoscopic eradication therapy (EET) help to prevent cancer well before it ever starts, many patients overestimate their cancer risk. Being referred for treatment appears to further ramp up their anxiety. Despite patient education prior to and after EET, individuals facing a series of treatments often forget what they may have been told about their diagnosis, cancer risk and/or short- and long-term prognosis. This perceived lack of information, which has been linked to overall patient satisfaction, often pushes them over the top.
Supported by the Digestive Health Foundation, researchers in Northwestern Medicine’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology are evaluating the use of multimedia to enhance the patient experience pre- and post-EET therapy. Recent studies have shown them to be successful with patients who’ve undergone general and orthopaedic surgical procedures. The investigators plan to create an educational video for patients undergoing EET for Barrett’s esophagus through Northwestern’s Digestive Health Center and measure its impact on reducing patient anxiety.
Led by GI fellow Amanda Guentner, MD, the team will produce a short video to reinforce the information patients typically receive during face-to-face consultations with their gastroenterologist and/or follow-up calls after a clinic visit. The researchers will compare two groups of patients referred for EET: a control group and a study group that will be given a link to view the video prior to their initial clinic visit. The latter group may view the educational tool as many times as they want throughout the duration of the study. By helping patients stay focused on the clinical facts, the results of this study could serve to tamp down escalating fears and significantly enhance patient outlook during therapy.