Zapping away abnormal, precancerous cells in the throat may lower the risk of later developing esophageal cancer.
That's the conclusion of the first major study to test this technique.
The study involved 127 people suffering from a heartburn-related problem known as Barrett's esophagus. Of those patients, only about
1 percent who had a procedure that uses heat to burn off precancerous spots went on to develop cancer over the next year.
That's compared with more than 9 percent of those who got a fake
treatment in which no cells were destroyed.
The study results are reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City, Kan., were among the study sites.