Oesophago-gastric cancer – what’s the campaign about?
Oesophago-gastric cancer refers to cancer of the stomach and cancer of the oesophagus, also known as the gullet.
The two main types of oesophageal cancer, which account for 72% of oesophageal cancers develop in the lining the oesophagus. There are several types of stomach cancer but around 95% of them start in the glandular cells of the stomach lining.
It is estimated that around 950 deaths from oesophago-gastric cancer could be prevented each year if survival rates matched the best in Europe.
We think pharmacists have the potential to play a greater role in the early detection of cancer. Raising awareness and talking to patients about symptoms of oesophageal and gastric cancers really can save lives because it can result in earlier diagnosis and better treatment options.
What are the symptoms of oesophago-gastric cancer?
The key symptoms of oesophago-gastric cancers are:
• Persistent heartburn or indigestion
• Difficulty swallowing
Other symptoms may include:
• Nausea or persistent vomiting
• Persistent hoarse voice or cough
• Throat pain
• Coughing up blood
• Feeling full
• Loss of appetite
• Feeling bloated after eating
• Trapped wind and frequent burping
Anyone who has been experiencing these symptoms for three weeks or more should visit their GP.
Early diagnosis saves lives
Although oesophago-gastric cancer survival rates have increased in recent years, around 40% of oesophago-gastric cancer patients survive for one year but five year survival is less than 20%.
Awareness of signs and symptoms of oesophago-gastric cancers is low. Research shows that only 4% of people mentioned difficulty swallowing and 11% mentioned nausea or sickness as possible symptoms of oesophageal and gastric cancers.
It’s vital to be aware of the symptoms of oesophago-gastric cancers. It could help save lives through earlier diagnosis and treatment.