Guts UK is very proud to be funding research aiming to earlier diagnose oesophageal cancer using just a bag of breath! This research is being lead by Prof. George Hanna at Imperial College London, who...
28th November 2023
1st February 2023
February is Oesophageal Cancer Awareness Month. Oesophageal cancer is the 8th most common cancer worldwide. A UK-wide survey carried out by the Less Survivable Cancers Taskforce (LSCT) found that the awareness of symptoms of these cancers is dangerously low. Only 2% of people surveyed could correctly identify all symptoms of oesophageal cancer.
NHS data showed that the proportion of oesophageal cancer cases diagnosed in an emergency setting like A&E was far higher than for more survivable cancers. Over 20% of oesophageal cancer cases were diagnosed at emergency, while just 2.7% of breast and 7.8% of prostate cancer cases were.
The earlier oesophageal cancer is diagnosed, the better treatment options patients have.
If you experience any of the below symptoms, you should see your GP to discuss further:
When Jennie first started experiencing persistent indigestion, she rang her GP to arrange an appointment.
“My GP is fantastic, but she looked at me, saw a fit, active, slim non-smoker and didn’t immediately recognise the symptoms. I didn’t fit the usual profile.” Jennie’s GP prescribed her a month supply of PPIs (proton pump inhibitors, reducing stomach acid production). However, Jennie’s symptoms continued. After she struggled to swallow her Christmas dinner, she knew she had to ask for a gastroscopy.
Jennie’s oesophageal cancer diagnosis was still a shock, but her persistence about her symptoms meant she was diagnosed at an early stage.
“Almost a decade on from having oesophageal cancer, I’m still here. I hope this helps to give other people and their families some hope” – Jennie.
“In 2021 out of nowhere I started experiencing acid reflux. Even the simplest foods, like porridge or mashed potatoes would be an issue to digest and I wasn’t able to tolerate them. Within weeks, I couldn’t even swallow water.”
When Rachael could no longer swallow water she knew she had to go to A&E. On her third walk-in to A&E, she was finally admitted and diagnosed with oesophageal cancer.
“I wasn’t angry or scared. I was just confused. It didn’t make sense to me, given my age and my lifestyle. I’d just recovered from burnout, and the life-changes that came alongside that. So at the time, oesophageal cancer didn’t seem like it was going to be as big as the storms I’d just weathered.
Thankfully, my cancer hadn’t spread and I already had a wonderful support network in place. “
Guts UK are proud to announce that Dr Katja Christodoulou is continuing the promising results shown by Dr Sara Jamel discovering whether a breath test can be developed to pick up oesophageal cancer earlier.
“We are further developing a breath test to pick up oesophageal cancer in the early stages, when it is more likely to be cured. This test looks for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are small gas molecules.
The breath test is a simple, cost-effective procedure that is easy for patients. We hope to pick up those who are at high risk of developing early oesophageal cancer, so we can prioritise these people for an endoscopy.” – Dr Christodoulou.Learn more about Dr Christodoulou's research
28th November 2023
At Guts UK, some members of our community rely on prescription pancreatic enzymes (Pancreatic Enzyme Replacement Therapy, PERT) to help them properly digest the food they eat. When your pancreas doesn’t produce enough enzymes to...
28th November 2023
Guts UK has three charitable objectives: Provide expert information to patients Raise awareness of digestive health Fund research into the digestive system from top to tail; the gut, liver and pancreas How every £1 you...
1st November 2023
This week (2nd-8th October) is the World’s First Diverticular Disease Awareness Week! Have you heard of it? Diverticular disease affects 1 in 3, increasing to 1 in 2 people during their lifetime. Diverticula are permanent...
2nd October 2023