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Galway University Hospitals raises awareness of Oesophageal Cancer

Galway University Hospitals is holding an information day on Friday 22 February to raise awareness about oesophageal cancer. The event will take place in the main foyer of UHG from 10am until 3pm and Clinical Nurse Specialists in Upper GI Cancer and Colorectal Cancer will be available to talk to members of the public who may have concerns or questions.
Olive Cummins, Clinical Nurse Specialist in Upper GI Cancer says, “Our aim is to raise awareness of this type of cancer which affects 380 people on average in Ireland every year.
“The risk of developing oesophageal cancer does increase with age but we have seen cases in young people also. Both men and women can develop this type of cancer although it does affect 3 times more men than women. And as is the case with many cancers, smoking is a significant factor.
“The oesophagus, also known as the gullet, is the connective tube between your throat and stomach. All food and liquids we swallow are pushed to the stomach by the contraction of the oesophageal muscles. Oesophageal cancer is caused when the lining of the oesophagus experiences abnormal cell growth. There are two main symptoms that may indicate oesophageal cancer and these are difficulty swallowing and weight loss.
“Oesophageal Cancer is a treatable condition if caught early enough and we hope that our awareness day will help people to understand what to look out for and what lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk.
“Our information day in UHG is just one of many events taking place around the country as part of ‘Lollipop Day’ which is organised by the Oesophageal Cancer Fund, a registered charity set up in 2001 to raise awareness of the symptoms of oesophageal cancer and to provide money for research so as to improve the journey and outcomes for people with oesophageal cancer and their families.
“If you are unable to attend and are worried about symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing or sudden weight loss, then my advice is to talk to your GP. Your GP can then refer you on to the hospital for investigations and treatment if required.
“Last July, GUH was designated by the National Cancer Control Programme as one of three national satellite centres (along with Beaumont and Cork University Hospital with St James’s Hospital Dublin designated as the National Centre) for Oesophageal and Gastric Cancer Care which means that patients at our hospital have access to a full range of treatment options including radical surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.”