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Lollipop Day - Oesophageal Cancer

Monday, 22 February 2010

New research is showing that there is a strong link between heartburn and oesophageal cancer. This is the most common cause of Oesophageal cancer in Ireland, and is set to increase as our lifestyles involve fatty foods, stress and hectic lifestyles.

Lollipop Day is the 26th and 27th February, and is in it's ninth year of fundraising. Since then they have raised 1.6 million from the Irish people for funding for the Oesophageal Cancer fund.

40% of oesophageal cancer cases in Ireland is related to diet and obesity. It is a preventable condition if we pay attention to lifestyle and exercise.

Ireland has one of the highest rates of oesophageal cancer in the world, with approx 350 people diagnosed each year in Ireland.

Who Is The Guest?

. Chris Hoff - Oesophagal Cancer survivor
. Professor John Reynolds - St James's Hospital.

New research shows everyday heartburn may put you at risk of oesophageal cancer. Heartburn causes Barrett's Oesophagus, which in turn is the cause of 90% of oesophageal cancer in Ireland. 40% of Irish people suffer from heartburn on a weekly basis. Heartburn is traditionally linked to fatty foods, stress and hectic lifestyles.

What is Barrett's Oesophagus?

This is a condition caused by frequent heartburn, where the acid regurgitates back into the oesophagus and changes the cell structure. It is a common condition so its important that we don't scare anyone who may suffer with it, but it is a risk factor and in fact 90% of people in Ireland with this cancer will have gotten it because of Barrett's Oesophagus. The message is that if you have it, then it is important to get it checked regularly. The Oesophageal Cancer Fund are campaigning and raising funds for there to be a register of people suffering with Barrett's Oesophagus, (like cervical cancer smears), which will lead to early diagnosis.

People at risk of getting Barrett's Oesohagus are those who suffer regularly from heartburn, and one of the main symptoms of B.O is that if you have been suffering over a long period of time, and your heartburn symptoms actually go away. This is because the cells have adjusted.

NB It is important to be reassured that 99% of people with chronic heartburn or reflux or Barretts oesophagus are not at risk for cancer.

Oesophageal Cancer

Cancer that begins in the oesophagus (oesophageal cancer) is divided in to two types,
Squamous Cell cancer and Adeno cancers (or carcinomas the more common medical usage) depending on the type of cells that are malignant.

Squamous cell cancer arises in cells that line the upper and middle part of the oesophagus. Adenocarcinomas usually develop in the glandular tissue in the lower part of the oesophagus. The treatment is similar for both types of cancer

Causes and Symptoms


. Frequent and longstanding heartburn
. Trouble swallowing
. Vomiting blood
. Pain under the breastbone where the esophagus meets the stomach
. Unintentional weight loss because eating is painful

For the most common type of oesophageal cancer in Ireland, we now know that perhaps 40% of cases may relate to diet and obesity. There is evidence that diet and physical activity will help reduce the risk of oesophageal cancer and that certain foods and drinks may have beneficial effects such as:


Benificial Foods

. Turmeric
. Green tea
. Fruit
. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and bok choy
. Garlic


Risk factors

. Barrett's oesophagus (long-term regurgitation of acid)
. Long history of chronic heartburn
. Age, people between the ages of 40 - 45 years old need to be particularly vigilant
. More common in men
. Smoking
. Heavy alcohol use
. Obesity, increased incidence in obese patients

Why is there a low survival rate?

Patients presenting with symptoms of oesophageal and gastric cancer almost invariably have advanced disease. One-year survival is around 40 per cent. Although five-year survival has doubled over the last three decades, it still remains about 10 per cent for oesophageal cancer and 15 per cent for gastric cancer. Both oesophageal and gastric cancers have migrated towards the gastro-oesophageal junction and the incidence of adenocarcinoma of the lower oesophagus has increased dramatically over the last two decades.

Adenocarcinoma of the lower oesophagus now represents about two to three of all oesophageal cancers. Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease and Barrett's oesophagus has been identified as a major factor in this changing epidemiology, yet programmes for surveillance endoscopy of Barrett's oesophagus patients are often poorly organised and conducted.

Late diagnosis remains the biggest factor in leading to poor outcomes, despite the introduction of video-endoscopy and more rapid access to diagnostic services. Early stage disease often has no mechanical symptoms, yet can have a five-year survival in excess of 90 per cent. With the introduction of endoscopic mucosal resection and improved chemoradiotherapy schedules, long-term survival can sometimes be achieved without the need for major resectional surgery.

How to support Lollipop Day 2010

Pop Along and sign your name on the Lollipop Day Wall in support of the Oesophageal Cancer Fund on Friday, February 26th and Saturday, February 27th 2010
Look out for the Lollipop Day Volunteers selling lollipops nationwide
Buy a lollipop or pin from volunteers and usual retail outlets and pharmacies
. Text "Lollipop" to 57111
. Follow "Lollipop Day 2010" on Facebook and Twitter

The Oesophageal Cancer Fund has donated €500,000 to the establishment of a national register of Barrett's Oesophagus patients to aid in the early diagnosis of oesophageal cancer.


Relevant Information
For more information log on to www.lollipopday.com

Additional / Misc' Info:

Treatment of Oesophageal Cancer

Surgery is the main treatment of all solid cancers. This aims to remove the entire tumour. Usually chemotherapy and radiotherapy are given before surgery to shrink the tumour. You may also require chemotherapy after surgery. Sometimes chemotherapy and radiotherapy are the only treatments required.

Radiation therapy may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy and/or surgery to destroy the cancer. It may be used as the main treatment especially if the size or location of the tumour makes the operation difficult. Doctors may also combine radiotherapy with chemotherapy to shrink the tumour before surgery.

Chemotherapy involves the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. These drugs travel throughout the body and are given by injection in to vein. It may be used with radiotherapy to shrink the tumour before surgery. As chemotherapy travels throughout the body it can kill cells that have travelled outside of the operation field

Prognosis:- Unfortunately the prognosis for advanced carcinoma of the oesophagus is not good. Early detection and treatment is essential to improve the prognosis.


IT'S LOLLIPOP DAY 2010!

Lollipop Day 2010 takes place on Friday, February 26th and Saturday February 27th 2010

POP ALONG AND SUPPORT LOLLIPOP DAY 2010!


When:

Friday 26th & Saturday 27th February 2010

Where:

Stephens Green Shopping Centre (beside the Card Gallery), Ground Floor, Stephens Green Shopping Centre , Dublin 2

What:
Pop Along and sign your name on the Lollipop Day Wall in support of Lollipop Day organised by the Oesophageal Cancer Fund (OCF) on Friday, February 26th and Saturday, February 27th 2010

How to support Lollipop Day 2010 :


. Pop Along and sign your name on the Lollipop Day Wall in support of the Oesophageal Cancer Fund on Friday, February 26th and Saturday, February 27th 2010

. Look out for the Lollipop Day Volunteers selling lollipops nationwide

. Buy a lollipop or pin from volunteers and usual retail outlets and pharmacies

. Text "Lollipop" to 57111

. Follow "Lollipop Day 2010" on Facebook and Twitter

The Oesophageal Cancer Fund has pledged €500,000 to the establishment of a national register of Barrett's Oesophagus patients to aid in the early diagnosis of oesophageal cancer.

This is the ninth annual Lollipop Day organised by the Oesophageal Cancer Fund, due to the generosity and support of the Irish public over €1.6 million euro has been raised by the OCF to date.

If you would like more information please contact:

Myra Mc Auliffe / Rachel Boyce - Drury
01 260 5000
myra.mcauliffe@drury.ie /rachel.boyce@drury.ie
086 191 3919 (MMC) / 086 368 3071 (RB)
Fact File
Cancer of the oesophagus ranks as the 16th most common cancer in Ireland, accounting for 2.3% of all malignant neoplasms - 2.7% in men and 1.8% in women, when non-melanoma skin cancer is excluded (table 13.1).

Some Statistics on survival rates:-
Average number of new cases per year 306 (1997 - 2003')
Average number of deaths per year 308 (1997 - 2003')

Ireland has the second highest rate for oesophagal cancer for women, and 4th highest for men in the world.

Due to the poor prognosis of patients with these cancers, they are the third most common cause of cancer death, after lung and colorectal cancer, and account for nearly 10 per cent of all cancer deaths.

40% of oesophageal cancer cases in Ireland is related to diet and obesity. It is a preventable condition if we pay attention to lifestyle and exercise.

Ireland has one of the highest rates of oesophageal cancer in the world, with approx 350 people diagnosed each year in Ireland.

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