As Richard Dawkins says, he isn't particularly interested in what anyone believes, he is interested in the evidence. So I would say don't base your decisions on what others believe, but look at the evidence. I'll try to sum a bit of it up here. I'll also include what I believe I would do :)
I would say that it absolutely depends on what your clinical profile is and what your test results have been. If I had NERD or low-grade esophagitis (LA Grade A or B), then I would probably wait a long-time. I would definitely wait a long-time if my motility test and PH tests came back suggesting that surgery wasn't a great option for me (in fact, as they do).
If, however, I came back with lots of acid exposure during the PH test and it was clear that I suffered severe reflux, with or without Barrett's, I'd probably get the surgery sometime relatively soon. If I had Barrett's I would seriously consider the surgery despite the fact that it hasn't been shown to reduce cancer risk in GERD patients with Barrett's.
Overall what you are asking is based on two assumptions/beliefs:
Firstly, you are scared of more damage happening. This actually is not the norm. Most people remain in their same category (level of esophagitis, or non-erosive disease), or get better. A very, very low % of them progress to Barrett's (i.e. in the area of 1-8% over 7-20 years, depending on your level of esophagitis). Believe it or not, I have had a well-known doctor (and head of an esophageal disease center at a major university) tell me that, since I have a history of just NERD and level A esophagitis, I really don't need to be on PPI's. If they aren't improving my symptoms, they aren't really necessary. If you look at the AGA guidelines for GERD this is in fact included among their guidelines (PPI's have, however, been shown to have a moderate effect on cancer risk if you have Barrett's).
Secondly, you are assuming that the surgery automatically reduces cancer risk. In fact, studies to date have not shown that it does. In fact, many doctors will tell you that surgery should actually never be considered from the perspective of reducing cancer risk, but from the perspective of improving quality of life. Pretty counter-intuitive, huh? A lot of things about medicine are, at the end of the day, counter-intuitive, unfortunately.
So I would say consider those two issues in particular before making a decision. But, ultimately, the decision is up to you and you have the prerogative to make it based on what you believe and what you value, and based on how you feel. So the decision that you make is up to you...I am just saying anyone should definitely do some research and get some facts before pursuing surgery as a panacea to their GERD and potential cancer risk.
darn I'm good...