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clearoncanderLocal GP, David Isaac, is supporting the national ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ campaign which is currently highlighting the need for people to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the relatively unknown but increasingly common cancers of the gullet (oesophagus) and stomach.

Cancer of the oesophagus, the long tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach, is among the ten most common cancers in men. 9 out of 10 people who get cancer of the stomach or oesophagus are over 50. Both cancers affect men and women but are most common in men. In 2014, 36 people were diagnosed with oesophageal cancer on the Isle of Wight.

Dr David Isaac, local GP at Carisbrooke Health Centre and a representative of the ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ Campaign has urged members of the public to book an appointment with their doctor if they start to experience unexplained and persistent indigestion or any difficulty swallowing. Dr Isaac, said:

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“Symptoms like indigestion and heartburn are common and affect a large number of us and are usually nothing to worry about, but if they occur out of the blue and persist for more than three weeks, you should speak to your GP to ensure there are no underlying problems.

“Low awareness and a reliance on over-the-counter remedies means people are not always recognising the symptoms and telling their doctor soon enough. Early diagnosis is the key to effective treatment and the ‘Be Clear on Cancer’ message is simple; you are not wasting anyone’s time by getting your symptoms checked out.”

Other symptoms of oesophageal or stomach cancer may include:

– Indigestion on and off for weeks or more
– Food feels like it’s sticking in your throat when you swallow
– Losing weight for no obvious reason
– Trapped wind and frequent burping
– Feeling full quickly when eating
– Feeling bloated after eating
– Nausea or vomiting
– Stomach pain

Having symptoms doesn’t mean it’s cancer. They could be a sign of another condition which may need treating.

Speaking on behalf of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Anne Snow, Lead Cancer Nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital, said:

“The sooner a patient is referred by their GP to St. Mary’s Hospital the sooner our specialist nurses are able to provide support, from the point of diagnosis through to the patient’s treatment and follow up.”

For more information about oesophageal-gastric cancer visit www.nhs.uk/ogcancer

The Be Clear on Cancer campaign for oesophageal-gastric cancer runs from 26th January to 22nd February 2015.

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