Get your Health question answered in 3 easy steps
A Doctor will be with you shortly
Ask a Doctor Now
198 Doctors are Online

Does swallowing barium lead to cancer of esophagus and stomach?

User rating for this question
Very Good
Answered by

General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 6182 Questions
Do barium swallows usually pick up cancers of the esophagus and stomach?
Posted Sat, 20 Jul 2013 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 2 hours later
Hi and thank you so much for this query. I am Dr. Ditah and feel honored to address your health questions today.

Barium swallows can pick up some cancers of the esophagus and stomach but not all of them. It is very good in cancers which grow into the lumen (creating obstruction) or those which ulcerates the walls(excavations). Barium swallow consists of wallowing a contrast liquid product which follows the contour of these hollow organs and images are taken during the process to monitor its flow. If there is protruding mass or an excavation in the esophagus or stomach cause by a cancer, then this will show up on a barium series film. This is often seen in late stages of cancer of the esophagus and stomach. However, early stages of cancers rarely present with protruding masses or ulcerations of the walls. This makes the test not very useful in the early stages.

The best test to look for esophageal and stomach cancer is endoscopy. This consist in using a magnifying camera to inspect the entire length of these organs and even do biopsies. This is the gold standard of investigating for stomach and esophageal cancers.

In summary, the answer is yes for most late stages of these cancers and rarely in the early stages. Endoscopy is better for the early stages and also good for the late stages.

I hope this answers your query fully. If you have more questions related to this, please ask them and i will be very happy addressing them.
I wish you good health.
Dr. Ditah, MD.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Question is related to

The user accepted the expert's answer

Ask an Oncologist

© Ebix, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All the information, content and live chat provided on the site is intended to be for informational purposes only, and not a substitute for professional or medical advice. You should always speak with your doctor before you follow anything that you read on this website. Any health question asked on this site will be visible to the people who browse this site. Hence, the user assumes the responsibility not to divulge any personally identifiable information in the question. Use of this site is subject to our Terms & Conditions
Already Rated.
Your rating:

Ask a Doctor