Oesophagogastric cancer








About cancer of the stomach and oesophagus...
There are almost 13,000 new cases of these two cancers in England every year. Together, they cause over 10,000 deaths annually. Both cancers affect men and women, but are more common in men. More than nine out of 10 people who get cancer of the stomach or oesophagus are over 55. This leaflet explains the signs of these two types of cancer. If you notice any of the symptoms, tell your doctor straight away. It might not be anything
serious, but if it is cancer, then finding it early makes it more treatable.

What is the oesophagus...
The oesophagus is the long tube (gullet) that carries food from the throat to the stomach. Cancer of the oesophagus is also called ‘oesophageal cancer’. Sometimes oesophageal and stomach cancers are known as ‘oesophago-gastric cancer’. ‘Oesophago-gastric cancer’ means cancer of either the oesophagus or the stomach.

How to spot it...
See your doctor straight away if:
• food ever feels like it’s sticking in your throat when you swallow, or
• you’ve had heartburn or indigestion on and off for 3 weeks or more

Looking out for cancer of the oesophagus
If you ever feel that food gets stuck in your throat when eating, this could be a sign of oesophageal cancer, especially if you’re over 55. There may be
another reason why you’re having difficulty swallowing food, but it’s always best to get this checked out, as soon as you can. Finding cancer early makes it more treatable. Other symptoms of oesophageal cancer include:
• losing weight for no obvious reason
• throat pain
• a persistent cough

Looking out for stomach cancer
You should also tell your doctor if you’ve been suffering from heartburn or indigestion on and off for three weeks or longer. This could be a sign of stomach cancer, particularly if you’re over 55. The chances are it’s nothing serious, but an early diagnosis improves the chances of successful treatment. Even if you’re taking medicine and it seems to help, you still need to see your doctor if you have heartburn or indigestion most days. Other symptoms of stomach cancer include:
• trapped wind and frequent burping
• feeling full very quickly when eating
• feeling bloated after eating
• nausea or vomiting

Why you should see your doctor...
You’re not wasting anyone’s time by getting your symptoms checked out, so make that trip to your doctor’s surgery. If it’s nothing to worry about, your
mind will be put at rest. But if it is cancer of the stomach or oesophagus, early detection makes it easier to treat. Seeing your doctor without delay
may save your life.

Having symptoms doesn’t mean it’s cancer
Perhaps it’s a sign of another condition, which may need treating? Find out for sure by visiting your surgery.
If you know anyone who has any of the symptoms described in this leaflet, tell them they should see their doctor.
You can find your doctor’s contact details online at nhs.uk/ogcancer


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Page last updated 08 July 2013