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Spotting cancer early can make a real difference

Latest figures reveal that around 12,900 people are diagnosed with oesophageal or stomach cancer in England each year.

A ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign has launched, urging people to visit their doctor if they have heartburn most days for three weeks or more, as this can be a sign of oesophageal (cancer of the gullet or foodpipe) or stomach cancer.

Other symptoms of oesophageal or stomach cancer may include:

  • ·         difficulty swallowing food
  • ·         indigestion 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  

If you have any of these symptoms, tell your doctor.

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

Dr Liane Harris, local GP and NHS Bury Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Cancer Lead, said: “Being aware of possible symptoms of oesophageal and stomach cancers, such as heartburn most days for three weeks or more, is really important. People shouldn’t learn to live with it – they should tell their doctor.

“If there is something wrong then finding it early makes it more treatable, though in many cases it is probably nothing serious.”

For further information about the signs and symptoms of oesophageal and stomach cancers, please visit www.nhs.uk/ogcancer.

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