Could three weeks of heartburn be a sign of cancer?

A health campaign by Public Health England is urging people not to ignore heartburn, as it could be a sign of stomach or oesophageal cancer.

A campaign has been launched by Public Health England (PHE) in conjunction with Cancer Research UK as part of its National Awareness and Early Diagnosis Initiative, entitled ‘Be Clear on Cancer’.

To coincide with its launch, PHE has published the results of a recent survey, which show that just 55 per cent of people in the UK would visit their doctor if they experienced heartburn for three weeks or more.

In addition, 59 per cent of respondents were not aware that persistent heartburn may be an early sign of cancer – only 15 per cent said they knew this could be the case.

Early diagnosis is vital for all types of the disease, but with 67 per cent of those found to have oesophago-gastric cancers not surviving for more than five years after its initial detection, doctors are hoping to increase awareness of potential signs of the condition.

Heartburn is not the only digestive issue that could indicate stomach cancer, as trouble swallowing food may also be an early sign of the disease. However, 70 per cent of the adults questioned by PHE did not realise this.

Furthermore, nine in ten of those diagnosed with the condition are aged 50 and over, meaning this demographic in particular needs to be aware of the potential risks associated with heartburn.

To read the full article, please click here.