Our Trustee Phil Coverdale is spearheading the Awareness Campaign - for any questions or queries, please email Phil on Philcoverdale@opa.org.uk
Phil Coverdale TrekFest 'The Peaks'
You still have time to donate to Phil Coverdale's trek across the Peak District to help raise awareness of the OPA and the Ref Lux campaign. The trek tested Phil to his limits. Find out more about Phil's inspiring story and the challenge.
Ref Lux - blowing the whistle on Cancer
Consult your GP if you suffer from
- Persistent (every day for three weeks or more) heartburn or indigestion
- Food coming back up
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Pain or discomfort in the throat or back
- A hoarse voice or a cough that will not go away
- Unexplained weight loss
- Coughing up blood
About Oesophageal Cancer
There are over 8000 new cases of oesophageal cancer in the UK each year. It is the sixth most common cause of cancer death.
There are two main types of oesophageal cancer:
- Adenocarcinoma - about 70% of UK oesophageal cancer cases, and on the increase. It is associated with Barrett's Oesophagus and the effects of stomach acid on the lining of the oesophagus. So anything that increases acid reflux, like obesity, can be a factor. It tends to occur around the junction of the oesophagus and stomach.
- Squamous cell carcinoma comprises about 30% of the oesophageal cancer cases in the UK. It tends to be higher up towards the throat. This sort of cancer is associated with high levels of tobacco and alcohol intake. If caught early enough, it can sometimes be successfully treated by chemo-radiotherapy and surgery.
In an ideal world the OPA would be pushing the early diagnosis message for all the causes/symptoms of all oesophago-gastric cancers. We have decided, for now, to concentrate all our resources on the one message that will save most lives in the short term: do not ignore persistent heartburn.
There could be tens or hundreds of thousands of people out there with undiagnosed Barretts Oesophagus. Up to 10% of them WILL go on to develop adenocarcinoma. The surest way to reach people who run this risk is to get those with persistent heartburn to see their GP. Many of those patients will be sent for an endoscopy which will diagnose Barretts, if present, leading to treatment and regular ongoing monitoring, both of which WILL save the lives of significant numbers of those patients.
We now have awareness t-shirts, badges and pens starting at £1.50 to help spread the message - see our Merchandise page for details.