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PostPosted: 27 Jan 2015 19:53 
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A national ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign is launched today (26 January 2015) urging people to visit their doctor if they have heartburn most days for 3 weeks or more, as this can be a sign of oesophageal or stomach cancer.

The campaign launch coincides with results of a new survey commissioned by Public Health England, which reveals only 1 in 2 people (55%) would visit their doctor if they had heartburn most days for 3 weeks or more.

Early diagnosis of oesophageal or stomach cancer (also known as oesophago-gastric cancers) is crucial and means treatment is more likely to be successful. Around 67% of people diagnosed with oesophago-gastric cancers at the earliest stage survive for at least 5 years. This figure drops to around 3% for those diagnosed at a late stage.

According to the survey findings, 59% of respondents did not know that heartburn could be a sign of cancer with just 15% saying they were certain that it is a symptom.

Another symptom highlighted by the campaign is that of difficulty swallowing food. Here the survey found that 70% did not know food sticking in the throat could be a sign of cancer, and just 13% of those surveyed said they were sure it is a symptom.


Oesophago-gastric cancers are the fourth and fifth most common cause of cancer death in men and women respectively.

The UK, with the Netherlands, has the joint highest incidence rate of oesophageal cancer in males in the European Union and the highest incidence rate of oesophageal cancer in females in the European Union. This may be due to smoking, low consumption of fruit and vegetables over time, rising obesity levels and consuming alcohol on a regular basis.

Of those diagnosed with oesophago-gastric cancers, more than 9 out of 10 people are over the age of 50, making this the target age group for the campaign
.

Oesophageal and stomach cancer symptoms

Heartburn most days for 3 weeks or more could be a sign of oesophageal or stomach cancer.
Other symptoms of oesophageal or stomach cancer may include:
food feels like it’s sticking in your throat when you swallow
indigestion on and off for 3 weeks or more
losing weight for no obvious reason
trapped wind and frequent burping
feeling full very quickly when eating
feeling bloated after eating
nausea or vomiting
pain or discomfort in your upper tummy area

G MOHAN


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