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The number of Americans with esophageal disorders is on the rise,
and according to the National Cancer Institute, esophageal cancer is now the
fastest-growing cancer in the United States. With this in mind, Norton
Thoracic Institute at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical
Center has increased its focus on esophageal disease services.
The esophagus is the muscular tube that connects your throat and your
stomach. An expert in esophageal disorders and diseases and the growing
program’s new surgical director, Sumeet Mittal, MD, calls
gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) a possible epidemic of our time.
“There could be millions of undiagnosed cases, which is
unsettling,” explains Dr. Mittal, who is also a tenured professor of
surgery at Creighton University School of Medicine. “While acid reflux
might not sound that bad it should not be ignored.
Not only do esophageal disorders like GERD interfere with daily life, they
can also lead to serious health problems such as Barret’s esophagus and
esophageal cancer, and may contribute to lung disease.
“The most common treatment for GERD addresses only the heartburn and
does not remedy the underlying cause. A majority of patients suffer from lost
sleep and report poor quality of life along with a decline in activity due to
continued symptoms,” Dr. Mittal says. “At Norton Thoracic
Institute, we treat the root of the problem to provide long-term relief for
patients with this condition.”
Home to one of the nation’s top rated lung transplant programs,
Norton Thoracic Institute is headquartered at St. Joseph’s in downtown
Phoenix and specializes in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of diseases
of the lungs, chest or esophagus. In addition, St Joseph’s is among just
a handful of hospitals participating in a new FDA trial for GERD. The trial
involves a new technology which could offer treatment options to a large
number of patients who are not ideal candidates for other interventions but
continue to have troublesome reflux.
“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Mittal and his unique expertise to our
very active esophageal disease team to help grow our clinical and research
initiatives,” says Ross Bremner, MD, director of Norton Thoracic
Institute. “Esophageal disease is on the rise and esophageal cancer is
reaching epidemic proportions, increasing in incidence faster than any other
cancer. Our top priorities are patient satisfaction, and providing
accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and education for patients about
lifestyle changes they can make to help manage their condition. We believe
there is a huge opportunity to partner with our patients and our community to
effectively combat esophageal disease, and help patients return to a quality
of life that they may have thought was no longer attainable.”
Dr. Mittal earned his medical degree from the All Institute of Medical
Sciences in New Delhi, India. He then completed his residency at Creighton
University in Omaha, Neb., followed by a fellowship in thoracic and foregut
surgery at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Prior to
joining the team at Norton Thoracic Institute, Dr. Mittal served as the
director of esophageal surgery at Creighton University Medical Center.