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 raise awareness.

The aim of the OPA Ref-Lux 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. 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.

About Oesophageal Cancer

There are over 8000 new cases of oesophageal cancer in the UK each year. It is the seventh 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.

Consult your GP if you suffer from...

  • Difficulty in swallowing/food sticking
  • Reflux/heartburn/indigestion
  • Weight loss
  • Coughing when eating/swallowing
  • Hiccups when eating/lots of saliva
  • Change in taste/not relishing eating
  • Nausea
  • Anaemia

Symptoms above based on a survey of oesophageal patients in Q4 2016.

Download the OPA Ref Lux Leaflet as a PDF.

Or go to the OPA Shop to place an order for a hard copy.

Raising funds for the OPA Awareness campaign - Phil Coverdale TrekFest 'The Peaks'

Phil Coverdale raised funds for the OPA via MyDonate with a 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.

Football match leaves a sweet taste in the mouth

Swizzels - blowing the whistle on Cancer

Ed Cheong and Sammy Morgan attended a local football match in Norwich. Swizzel whistles were given out both as a sweet treat and to spread the message of the OPA Ref-Lux campaign - the whistles were branded with the message to 'Blow the whistle on cancers of the oesophagus & stomach'. Ed was invited to speak to the spectators and the Swizzel whistles were blown just prior to kickoff to help promote the campaign.

Read the full story in our news section.

Awareness Day

If you are interested in attending or organising an 'Awareness Day' please contact us for more information enquiries@opa.org.uk

If you would like to order our Awareness literature please go to the OPA Shop to place your order.

Awareness Merchandise, Posters and Leaflets

We now have awareness t-shirts, badges and pens starting at £1.50 to help spread the message. If you are involved in one of the OPA Awareness Campaigns or would like free posters and leaflets for your GP Surgery, go to the OPA Shop to place your order.

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