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Presently in the UK, one person dies every hour of oesophageal cancer - the fifth most common cancer killer with incidence rates set to triple in the next 15 years, It is estimated there may be up to one million people with the pre-cancerous condition, Barrett's Oesophagus, in the UK but only 10% have been identified and will be screened to minimise the risk of proression to cancer.
Too few people, even in the medical profession, are aware of Barrett’s Oesophagus and its potential to lead to cancer of the gullet. Barrett’s Oesophagus Campaign is constantly striving to increase knowledge among healthcare professionals and among the public. The more people who know about the condition the more lives can be saved.
Barrett’s Oesophagus is a major health issue yet its profile is very low.
It has the potential to lead to oesophageal cancer.
There is a dramatic increase in oesophageal cancer in the developed world.
It is now responsible for around five per cent of all cancer deaths, making it the fifth most common cause of cancer death.
Around 7,600 cases are diagnosed in the UK each year.
In 2005, 7,419 people died from the disease and the survival rate is one of the lowest of all cancers.
When Barrett’s is diagnosed early the symptoms can be treated and regular monitoring can help to prevent the condition developing into cancer.
I was diagnosed with Barrett’s five years ago …………. So what is Barrett’s Oesophagus?
The acid and bile from the stomach can cause inflammation to the cells lining the oesophagus. If this happens over many years, these cells may start to change, becoming more like the cells that line the intestine. This is then called Barrett’s Oesophagus.
Acid and bile coming from the stomach into the oesophagus may cause heartburn.
The normal oesophagus (gullet or food pipe) is lined with a pinkish-white tissue called squamous epithelium. Barrett's Oesophagus is a clear precursor of oesophageal adenocarcinoma (AC) but because it is so under-diagnosed, patients with AC have not been aware of it. Barrett's oesophagus is a condition in which the normal squamous epithelium of the oesophagus has been replaced by an abnormal red columnar epithelium.
In the US it is referred to as esophageal cancer / cancer of the esophagus.
For further information please visit the Barrett’s Oesophagus Campaign website; www.barrettscampaign.org.uk
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