Florida Hospital Tampa Dedicates New Center for Gastroesophageal Reflux and Esophageal Cancer in Memory of Former Patient

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Tampa, FL, November 30, 2016 -

The Digestive Health Institute at Florida Hospital Tampa has dedicated a new center in remembrance of George Mickle, a former patient who passed away from esophageal cancer at age 52 in 2014. The new Mickle Center for Reflux and Esophageal Cancer, unveiled in a public ceremony on November 14, is a symbol of the practices focus and commitment to provide education, awareness, research, and innovation to citizens of the Tampa Bay area for appropriate treatment options available for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other esophageal disorders, including esophageal cancer.

The Mickle family, through their generosity in George's memory, has given us an invaluable podium from which to speak about GERD and esophageal cancer. As thought leaders in American medicine with decades of experience in treating these disorders, this center brings meaningful recognition to our years of work and accomplishments. Yet, much needs to be done. Their generosity compels us to continue to push for advances in patient education and care; our fight is not done.

Members of Georges family and close friends traveled from all over the country to join his team of physicians, gastroenterologists, surgeons, and nurses and members of the community to unveil the new center. Georges widow, Maeve Mickle, will work with the Hospital and the Digestive Health Institute to help raise awareness about the prevalence and consequences of GERD and esophageal cancer, with a focus on their link.

George was a patient of Drs. Sharona Ross, who are nationally recognized in endoluminal, laparo-endoscopic single site (LESS) and complex abdominal robotic surgery. Together, these physicians have worked on developing one of the nations largest registries for patients with digestive disorders, including GERD and esophageal cancer.

George was the love and light of my life, says Maeve Mickle. He valiantly and bravely fought and I promised him that I would continue the fight and our journey, with the hope that we can help prevent another family from going through what we endured, she continued.

Over the past 30 years, the incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma has increased 56 fold in the US. In response to this outrageous, yet preventable, increase, we dedicated an entire center for reflux and esophageal cancer at the Digestive Health Institute at Florida Hospital Tampa, says Dr. Sharona B. Ross. We intend to raise public awareness of these awful diseases. Esophageal adenocarcinoma is highly associated with chronic acid reflux and its therapies. This cancer can largely be prevented with a very minimally invasive operation for reflux. Our center provides state of the art, innovative diagnostic testing and surgical treatments for both acid reflux and esophageal cancer.

GERD is one of the most common health disorders in the United Stated, affecting up to 20% of Americans daily life and accounts for over 9 million annual medical office visits. Over 10 billion dollars are spent annually on anti-reflux medications in the United States. This is why Florida Hospital Tampa recognizes this diseases vast reach and intends to inspire Tampa Bay to prospectively address this condition.

Many experts believe the overuse of anti-reflux medications is one of the contributing factors to the increased number of patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer each year. According to the American Cancer Society, in 2016 there was approximately 16,910 patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer, and around 15,690 deaths occurring from the disease. Esophageal cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer with an estimated survival rate of less than 20%. We are working to change this through awareness and education.

For more information or to schedule an appointment at the Mickle Center for Reflux and Esophageal Cancer, please call 813-615-7300.

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