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Norwich City footballers give backing to campaign to spot symptoms of oesophageal cancer

PUBLISHED: 23:24 16 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:58 18 December 2018

Norwich City stars have backed an oesophageal cancer campaign. Pic: Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Norwich City stars have backed an oesophageal cancer campaign. Pic: Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

Norwich City footballers have lent their support to a campaign to raise awareness of oesophageal cancer - and to spot the symptoms to get early medical advice.

The Blow Your Whistle on Oesophageal Cancer campaign began at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital in April 2017 with the support of the Oesophageal Patient Association.

And Edward Cheong, consultant oesophago-gastric and laparoscopic surgeon at the hospital, recently met Canaries stars at the hospital, where they gave their support to the campaign.

Rates of oesophageal cancer have risen by 500pc in the past four decades due to obesity, smoking, poor diet and lifestyles.

Mr Cheong said it was important for people to be aware of the symptoms of oesophageal cancer and to seek medical advice early.

He said: “Oesophageal cancer is a very aggressive cancer that affects the gullet and it is vital that it is caught early when treatments are more likely to be more effective.

“Many patients ignore the symptoms such as persistent indigestion, acid reflux and difficulty or painful swallowing. We launched this cancer awareness campaign to encourage people to be aware of the symptoms and seek medical help at an early stage.

“We hope this campaign will grow every year and become part of major sporting events.”

The unit at the hospital is rated as one of the country’s best for treating oesophago-gastric cancer and is one of the few units in UK to perform totally minimally invasive oesophagectomy.

Some of the symptoms of oesophageal cancer are persistent indigestion or heartburn over three weeks, difficult or painful swallowing and loss of appetite and weight loss.

If the cancer is found at an early stage, the patient will not need three months of chemotherapy, followed by an eight to 10 hours long operation, then another three months of chemotherapy after they have recovered from the surgery.

Instead, the early oesophageal cancer can be treated by using a gastroscope to remove it under sedation, with radiofrequency ablation used to prevent the chancer recurring.

That therapy is extremely effective is done under sedation as a day case procedure.

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