Oesophageal cancer is being diagnosed every day of every month of every year, every hour one person will die from this dreadful disease. Please help us to continue to raise awareness.
So what is Oesophageal Cancer?
The oesophagus (more commonly known as the gullet or food pipe) is the long tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. Cancer of the oesophagus is known as "Oesophageal Cancer". Sometimes oesophageal and stomach cancers are known as "oesophagogastric cancer" or "Upper gastrointestinal cancer".
There are over 16,000 new cases diagnosed in the UK each year, sadly only 30% are diagnosed at a stage where a cure can be attempted. It is the fastest growing cancer in the UK - and you need to be aware of it and it's symptoms and consult your GP early before it's too late.
The aim of this OPA awareness campaign is to educate the public, pharmacists, and GPs about the early signs for oesophageal cancer: heartburn, indigestion and food getting stuck; we know that only 30% of patients get curative treatment. Hence 70% of them are incurable.
So what are the symptoms?
A survey of Oesophageal patients in Q4 2016 resulted in the following symptoms described as what they were experiencing prior to being diagnosed.
- Difficulty in swallowing/food sticking
- Unexpected weight loss
- Coughing when eating/swallowing
- Hiccups when eating/lots of saliva
- Change in taste/not relishing eating
If you experience any of these symptoms on a regular basis then you should consult your GP for a referral for an endoscopy.
You will not be wasting anyone's time by getting your symptoms checked out - in fact you owe it to yourself and your family to do so.
It may be nothing to worry about in which case your mind will be put at rest. But if it is cancer of the oesophagus or stomach, early detection makes it more likely that you can be treated successfully.
Seeing your doctor without delay may save your life.
Go to see your doctor at the earliest opportunity as experience shows that if you don't, it could be too late.
"I'd never heard of Oesophageal Cancer until i was told i had got it!"
"I thought reflux was just a result of overeating - I didn't realise that it could lead to cancer"
"I was told that if I'd gone to see the doctor just 3 months earlier they would have been able to cure me. Now it's too late!"
These are some of the comments that are made by cancer patients. In the UK today more than 16,000 people are diagnosed with Oesophagogastric cancer and just 12% of patients will live more than 10 years following diagnosis.
Oesophagogastric cancer is the 5th most prevalent cancer in the UK, but if we find the cancer very early, there is a good chance it could be treated and cured endoscopically (with a gastroscopy/camera under sedation) in the day procedure.
The outcome for this is excellent, over 99% are cured; More importantly you can avoid the 3 months of chemotherapy followed by a long operation, and then another 3 months of chemotherapy after the operation.
Diagnosis at an early stage is associated with a much higher survival rate. This can only be achieved by creating awareness.
The Oesophageal Patients Association is leading the way to create awareness of:
- Oesophageal and Gastric Cancer
- The symptoms
- The need to see your GP as early as possible to achieve early diagnosis
If you would like a pack of literature to help with the awareness campaign, please go to the OPA Shop where you can order your free pack.
Esomeprazole and aspirin in Barrett’s oesophagus (AspECT): a randomised factorial trial - Janusz A Z Jankowski