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Barrett's oesophagus. Light micrograph of a section through an oesophagus (gullet) affected by Barrett's oesophagus. This is a condition in which the epithelial cells change, a process called metaplasia. It is caused by chronic acid reflux, where stomach acids escape from the stomach into the oesophagus, leading to heartburn. Over time, the normal squamous cells (blue) found in the oesophagus are replaced by columnar cells (pink), similar to those that line the stomach or colon. The condition is considered a precursor of oesophageal cancer. Treatment is with drugs to reduce stomach acid production, although advanced cases may require surgery or cancer treatments. Magnification: x 278, when printed 10 centimetres wide.
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