There is an Oesophageal Cancer Westminster Campaign that is in its early stages. Part of the campaign is a lobby and reception that is due to be held on Monday 13 October 2014, the first day back at Westminster after the party conference season.
So, if you feel strongly about oesophageal cancer and whether the government might do more to promote earlier diagnosis and thereby save more lives, now is your chance to do something specific.
You can write to your MP, using writetothem.com if you need details of who your MP is, and to use an email format.
We would like to see the government giving a high priority to promoting earlier diagnosis. It is not rocket science or sophisticated research (although some of this would also help mightily) for many cases of this cancer, because there is a relationship between persistent heartburn, the onset of Barrett's Oesophagus, and the development of dysplasia which carries a significant risk of adenocarcinoma. We could do an awful lot better if our excellent surgeons saw more people before it was too late.
Sean Duffy, the national Clinical Director for Cancer, has done a great job in promoting a 'Be Clear on cancer' campaign in North East England earlier this year on oesophago-gastric cancer, and the informal feedback is that this went very well. The evaluation results are not in yet, but we would like to see that campaign being extended to a national level early in 2015.
We would like to see Barrett's Oesophagus recognised as a condition that needs proper diagnosis, surveillance and treatment as a strategy to prevent cancer deaths. If cases where dysplasia develops are treated with radio frequency ablation then it may well avoid the need for an oesophagectomy.
You can read more about what Action Against Heartburn are proposing here:
Encouraging your MP to write to Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health, Department of Health, Richmond House, 79 Whitehall, London SW1A 2NS is one way of getting MPs on board and raising the profile of this campaign - or you could write to Jeremy Hunt direct.
Many of you on this site will be only too pleased to think that what you have had to go through might be avoided for people in the future.