Background: The risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) for patients with Barrett's esophagus (BE) is approximately 0.5% per year.
Objective: To investigate how patients with BE estimate and perceive their risk of developing EAC.
Design: Questionnaire study.
Setting: Patients with BE who were undergoing surveillance endoscopy based on histologic and flow cytometric results.
Patients: A total of 192 patients with BE were included.
Main outcome measurements: Individual patients were asked to estimate the numerical risk to develop EAC for patients with BE in general and for themselves. How patients perceived their own risk was measured on a scale from "very small" to "very large."
Results: At least 1 question was filled out by 169 patients (88% response). Sixty percent of respondents underestimated the numerical risk for patients with BE, in general, to develop EAC, while even more patients (69%) underestimated their own risk. Most respondents perceived their own risk as very small or small (63%).
Limitations: Risk estimations may depend on the response scale used.
Conclusions: Most patients with BE underestimated the numerical risk and perceived their risk of developing EAC as (very) low. Despite a low perceived risk, all patients in this group adhered to endoscopic surveillance.