Do you know the symptoms of oesophago-gastric cancers?
Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group is supporting a new national campaign which aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of stomach cancer and cancer of the oesophagus. The new oesophago-gastric campaign is part of Public Health England's wider 'Be Clear on Cancer' campaign.
Around 12,900 people are diagnosed with cancer of the stomach or oesophagus each year in England, with the two cancers causing around 10,200 deaths annually.
Dr Graham Lewis, Chair of Richmond CCG, said people needed to be aware of the symptoms of oesophago-gastric cancers as early diagnosis is crucial.
"Heartburn is a common condition but having heartburn most days for three weeks or more could be sign of cancer of the stomach or oesophagus and people should talk to their doctor, he said. "The chances are it's nothing serious but if it is cancer of the oesophagus or stomach getting it detected early makes it more treatable.
"Even if you're taking medicine and it seems to help, you still need to see your doctor if you have heartburn for most days. You're not wasting anyone's time by getting the symptoms checked out and if it's nothing to worry about it will put your mind at rest."
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 three 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.
Stomach cancer and cancer of the oesophagus claimed the lives of 24 people in Richmond in 2012, while 28 people were diagnosed with the disease.
More than 9 out of 10 people who are diagnosed with cancer of the stomach or oesophagus are aged 50 and over, with men twice as likely to be diagnosed as women.
The UK has the highest mortality rate for oesophageal cancer in the European Union.
People can reduce their chances of getting stomach cancer or cancer of the oesophagus by:
- stopping smoking - visit smokefree.nhs.uk or call 0800 169 0169
- looking after yourself by maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly
- eating healthily by getting your five portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- drinking less alcohol.
You can find your doctor's contact details and more information on Public Health England's Be Clear on Cancer oesophago-gastric campaign at www.nhs.uk/ogcancer