February Cancer Awareness

Posted by: jreeveseastwood - Posted on:

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The Atherstone Surgery regularly engages with awareness days and campaigns throughout the year to encourage good health promotion among our patients. This month is dedicated to Oesophageal Cancer Awareness and is also the month of World Cancer Day on February the 4th, which is an international campaign to raise awareness.

Oesophageal Cancer Awareness

The Atherstone Surgery would like to help raise awareness of Oesophageal Cancer which is a difficult disease to treat but where nearly 60% of the cases could be prevented if spotted and treated early enough.

What is Oesophageal Cancer?

Oesophageal cancer is when abnormal cells in the food pipe (otherwise known as the oesophagus or gullet) grow in an uncontrolled way. The cells can grow into surrounding tissues or organs, and may spread to other areas of the body.

Each year around 8,800 people are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer and around 7,200 die from it, making it the 6th most common cause of cancer death in the UK.

The UK has the highest rate of Oesophageal cancer in the world, and it has been rising eightfold in the last three decades. Oesophageal cancer is associated with Barrett’s Oesophagus that is caused by long term reflux, and persistent heartburn. Unfortunately it usually presents late when curable treatment options are limited. When the cancer is caught earlier, however, more curable treatment options are available.

If we can promote the diagnosis and monitoring of Barrett’s Oesophagus it is much more likely that people will be able to have this condition treated before it can develop into cancer, or, if they do develop cancer, they will be diagnosed at an early stage when the outcomes are much better.”

If the cancer is found in time, the treatment may be one or more of options such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. Despite the daunting statistics there are many people who are successfully treated and who enjoy a good quality of life for many years after cancer surgery and other treatment. 

Going to see your GP about persistent heartburn or indigestion is a good idea.   It is only a small proportion who will have Barrett’s Oesophagus, and only 10% of those Barrett’s Oesophagus sufferers who will develop cancer.   So do not worry needlessly!

But Barrett’s Oesophagus is a condition that is known to have a risk of cancer, and is a genuine early warning of potential trouble later; the earlier the doctors find cancer, the better your chances of successful treatment.

What to look out for:

There are many possible symptoms of oesophageal cancer, but they might be hard to spot.

Apart from persistent heartburn, other signs that you need to look out for are:

  • Persistent indigestion or vomiting,
  • Persistent hiccups or burping
  • Regurgitation of food
  • Food feels like it’s sticking in your throat or gullet when you swallow

Other symptoms include:

  • A cough or hoarse voice that is not getting better
  • Loss of appetite or losing weight without trying to
  • Feeling tired or having no energy
  • Pain in your throat or the middle of your chest, especially when swallowing
  • Feeling full very quickly when eating

If you have another condition, such as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, you may get symptoms like these regularly. You might find you get used to them. But if your symptoms change, get worse, or do not feel normal for you go to see your doctor immediately, because this could be much more urgent than having Barrett’s Oesophagus.  There could, for instance, be a swelling in your oesophagus that is blocking the passage of food in to your digestive system.  But do bear in mind that not all swellings and tumours are cancer! There might just as easily by some other reason that is far less serious than cancer.

Please visit the following websites for more information and support:

World Cancer Day

As we mark World Cancer Day on Friday, 4 February, the message from The Atherstone Surgery is – don’t wait to contact your GP if you have health worries or concerns.

Your GP is there for you if you are worried about any persistent, unexplained symptoms that won’t go away such as a swelling or lump, bleeding, or sudden weight loss. It could be nothing to worry about but finding cancer early on can make it easier to treat.

World Cancer Day was established on the 4 February 2000 at the World Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium in Paris. It is an initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) that unites people across the globe, to raise awareness of cancer and act against this global challenge. Since then World Cancer Day has grown into a positive movement for everyone, everywhere to unite under one voice to face one of our greatest challenges in history. Their aim is to have us all working together to reimagine a world where millions of preventable cancer deaths are saved and access to life-saving cancer treatment and care is equitable for all – no matter who you are or where you live.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide. Together, we can change that. While we live in a time of awe-inspiring advancements in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment, many who seek cancer care hit barriers at every turn. Income, education, geographical location and discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and lifestyle are just a few of the factors that can negatively affect care.

World Cancer Day is a campaign built to resonate, inspire change and mobilise action long after the day has passed. The Day aims to promote research, prevent cancer, improve patient services, raise awareness and mobilise the global community to make progress in cancer care.

Each year spearheaded by the UICC, hundreds of activities and events take place around the world, gathering communities, organisations and individuals in schools, businesses, hospitals, marketplaces, parks, community halls, in the streets and online – acting as a powerful reminder that we all have a role to play in reducing the global impact of cancer.

So this year’s World Cancer Day’s theme, “Close the Care Gap”, is all about uniting our voices and taking action. We build stronger alliances and innovative new collaborations and celebrate real-world progress in its many forms. We will mobilise friends, family, co-workers and communities because we know that united, we are stronger. #WorldCancerDay

We know that every single one of us has the ability to make a difference, large or small, and that together we can make real progress in reducing the global impact of cancer. You have the power to reduce the impact of cancer for yourself, the people you love and for the world. Our actions can take countless forms: motivating neighbours to provide transport to cancer treatment for a fellow resident or ensuring that healthy and affordable food options are offered at the local school. We’ll mobilise our friends, family, co-workers and communities because we know that together we are unstoppable. It’s time to close the care gap. #CloseTheCareGap

If you would like more information on World Cancer Day or how you can become involved please visit the website below:

Please click on the link below to see a large selection of Tik Tok challenges and Podcasts for World Cancer Day