Oesophageal Patients Association

Oesophageal cancer awareness month!

Oesophageal cancer awareness month!

I have received this today, all ready to distribute to my local GP practices and pharmacies!

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Well done Amy ~ where did you get them from?

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Alan from the OPA sent them to me, there's a post on here a little further down if you email Alan he will send you a pack xxxx

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Thanks Amy! xx

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Well done Amy. The OPA also has material on awareness and we work with Action Against Heartburn. Haward

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Hi Amy I received mine yesterday aswell. Every bit of awareness may help somebody else to catch this early. Hope your Dad is going ok. Love to you all xxxx

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Brilliant Helen! Hope you are doing ok too. Xxxxxxxx

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In the package there are some car rear window stickers, so if anybody wants one of these, please let me know on alanmoss32@gmail.com

Thanks so much for all your support for the cause!

Alan Moss

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Hi Alan! Fantastic idea for spreading awareness and possible earlier diagnosis. I' love some please, but am puzzled on two counts:

Why don't GP surgeries and pharmacies have these on display anyway? Ours have loads of leaflets on other cancers and early detection, so where do these other ones come from?

Secondly, would they agree to display these if I took them in? I would assume they could refuse on the grounds of clinical accuracy and source?

It beats me as to why some cancers are so high-profile with lots of publicity when OC (which is becoming more prevalent) is hardly known about.

Regards, Kate

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Hi Alan! Please ignore this post! I clearly did not read the whole OPA post which gives the full picture of provenance!

I have emailed you to request a pack but perhaps I should have sent my request to the main site?

Apologies!

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I distributed mine last year and my dr's refused to display them! I was soo annoyed. Also had problems with Boots they said no. Went to small independant chemists who accepted them.

Good Luck

Debbie

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Part of the problem is that diagnosing a cancer like oesophageal is not as straightforward as, say, a woman finding a lump in her breast (which if course might be for a number of reasons other than cancer). Yes, there are symptoms like persistent swallowing problems, hiccups and so on which are directly related to potential cancer (although again there may be other reasons) but when these do turn out to be cancer, it is often too late for curative treatment. With oesophageal cancer, the rise in adenocarcinoma is not always recognised, and it now represents about 70% of oesophageal cancer (and oesophageal cancer in the UK is reported as the highest incidence in the world). The precursor lesion, Barrett's Oesophagus, is not always recognised for its importance either, and there is some patchiness around the country where there is reluctance to encourage more referrals for endoscopy because endoscopy units are overloaded. The Public Health England's campaign on Be Clear on Cancer did feature heartburn a couple of years ago, and there was a slight increase in diagnoses of Barrett's oesophagus as the result of this, but there is competition with other campaigns (eg blood in pee, breast cancer in older women etc) and they do not really recognise (in my humble opinion) the benefits of diagnosing more Barrett's Oesophagus cases as an important strategy in earlier diagnosis and prevention of cancer. So we continue to fill the gap and raise awareness, which includes some parts of the medical profession as well.

We think it is sensible to have a proper diagnosis about the underlying causes of persistent heartburn for all sorts of good health reasons even if it is not cancer-related, and this view is also held by quite a lot of doctors.

We are still trying to crack the problem of getting and distributing a leaflet with an NHS logo on (we have suggested the wording on the NHS Choices website about heartburn) but getting this agreed seems remarkably difficult! So we are still trying on this aspect. An NHS logo would solve a lot of problems.

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Thanks for your detailed response. I was completely unaware of Barrett's Oesophagus and it's possible link to OC before my husband became ill. However, when he first complained of difficulty getting food down alarm bells did ring for me (I am a former nurse) but, being stubborn, initially refused to see our GP. When I eventually persuaded him to go, I was very surprised that he only returned with PPIs and antacids. I guess it was "lucky" (if you can call it that) he had a lot of pain after a meal a few days later that I rang the surgery and an urgent endoscopy referral was made. Therefore, it seems that some GPs are unaware of the symptoms.

Let's hope we can drive this forward and raise awareness. The NHS is overloaded full stop, but surely to goodness such an aggressive cancer as OC should be given some degree of priority?

I will check with my surgery re displaying the leaflets. If the main pharmacies (Boots, Lloyds etc) refuse, there are only 2 independents in our area which won't make much of an impact. Can't Mr Cheong at the N&N push for a NHS logo?

Kate

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I have always had a box of leaflets from Alan and found everybody has been more than willing to display them, doctor's surgeries, chemists, dentist, libraries etc, maybe I have been lucky, some have even started to display on pin boards etc, before I actually leave, Just hope this year is the same

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Hi Amycaz,

I notice you have received the Action Against Heartburn leaflets and not the OPA Ref Lux awareness leaflets.

If you need or want the the correct OPA awareness leaflets please contact us on 0121 704 9860 or let me know.

Kindest regards,

Dave Chuter, OPA Chairman

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