My persistence led to me being diagnosed with oesophageal cancer.”

Having a long history of acid reflux and indigestion, I’d already had a scope (camera test) which showed no abnormality in my oesophagus.

I was taking prescribed medication for my symptoms when I had a flare up of reflux causing indigestion, burping and pain when swallowing food. When this didn’t resolve after several weeks I went to see my GP. Given the result of my scope 10 months previous he didn’t feel there was anything to worry about and I was prescribed some new medication.

A week later there was no improvement in my symptoms, in fact they were getting worse and I was feeling very concerned . I made another GP appointment with the same outcome as the first. It actually took a other 3 appointments before I was referred for a further scope. By this stage I was having trouble swallowing as my food was sticking. The scope showed that I had quite a large malignant tumour.

Fortunately my diagnosis was still timely enough for curative treatment and now 5 years following chemotherapy and surgery I am fit, well and enjoying life. Being fortunate enough to survive I am keen to raise awareness of the symptoms of Oesophago-gastric Cancer. Please remember persistent symptoms need investigated.

What is Oesophago-Gastric Cancer?

Oesophageal cancer is cancer of the gullet and gastric cancer is cancer of the stomach. Combined, they are medically known as oesophago-gastric (OG) cancer. The oesophagus (more commonly known as the gullet or food pipe) is the long tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. In Northern Ireland in 2016, a total of 226 people were diagnosed with oesophageal (gullet) cancer. In the same year, 214 people were newly diagnosed with gastric (stomach) cancer.

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