NCFC players support oesophageal cancer campaign
Norwich City footballers have leant their support to a campaign to raise awareness for oesophageal cancer.
Blow Your Whistle on Oesophageal Cancer began at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) in April 2017 with the support of the Oesophageal Patient Association.
Edward Cheong, NNUH Consultant Oesophago-Gastric and Laparoscopic Surgeon, met with players from NCFC last week who gave their support to the campaign.
Rates of oesophageal cancer have risen by 500% in the last four decades due to obesity, smoking, poor diet and lifestyles.
Mr Cheong said it was important for people to be aware of the symptoms of oesophageal cancer and to seek medical advice early.
He said: “Oesophageal cancer is a very aggressive cancer that affects the gullet and it is vital that it is caught early when treatments are more likely to be more effective. Many patients ignore the symptoms such as persistent indigestion, acid reflux and difficulty or painful swallowing. We launched this cancer awareness campaign to encourage people to be aware of the symptoms and seek medical help at an early stage.
We hope this campaign will grow every year and become part of major sporting events.”
NNUH is rated as one of the top units in the country for treating Oesophago-Gastric Cancer and one of the few units in UK to perform totally minimally invasive oesophagectomy.
Some of the symptoms of oesophageal cancer:
• persistent indigestion or heartburn over three weeks
• difficult or painful swallowing
• loss of appetite and weight loss
If the patients have these symptoms, they should visit their GP who can arrange for the patient to have a gastroscopy where a thin tube with a camera is inserted into the stomach through the mouth, under sedation.
If the cancer is found at an early stage, the patient will not need three months of chemotherapy, followed by an eight to ten hours long operation, then another three months of chemotherapy after they have recovered from the surgery. Instead, the early oesophageal cancer can be treated by using a gastroscope to remove it under sedation (also known as endoscopic mucosal resection or EMR). Finally, we eradicate the rest of the Barrett’s oesophagus with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) to prevent recurrence of cancer. This endoscopic therapy is extremely effective and curative (more than 99.9% successful), and it is done under sedation as a day case procedure. The importance here is that the cancer must be found early. The prognosis is extremely good for this group of patients.