HCUK is a national charity having amalgamated with the McCord Fund, which was founded in memory of Michael McCord who died from oesophageal cancer in 2002. Michael’s death was preventable had he been aware of the danger of long-term persistent heartburn and sought appropriate investigation. He is one of thousands who die each year unnecessarily.
Cancer of the oesophagus is a rapidly increasing cancer of great concern in the UK and is now the fifth greatest cancer killer. Despite the best modern treatments survival from oesophageal cancer is appalling. This is mainly due to a diagnosis being made when the condition is too advanced to be treated as the preceding symptoms are few and on the whole ignored. Long- term persistent heartburn is a significant symptom of a type of oesophageal cancer called adenocarcinoma and the pre-cancerous condition known as Barrett’s Oesophagus. Heartburn affects 1 in 10 of us and is dismissed as being a harmless problem. It is estimated that in the region of 500,000 people in the UK have the pre-cancerous condition, Barrett’s Oesophagus, and most are totally unaware of it. Around 10% (50,000) of those will progress to oesophageal cancer.
HCUK – Our Core Objectives
Reduce the proportion of Oesophageal Cancer (OC) presenting at an incurable stage (currently 80%)
in the UK by 2024.
- Increase awareness of risk factors amongst the public and medical profession (see Awareness and Education).
- Support initiatives and trials designed to help reduce/prevent heartburn and OC.
- Raise funds to support peer reviewed studies and clinical trials to reduce risk of progression to cancer. This
would be done in partnership with established.
- academic funding bodies who have peer review mechanisms in place.
- In partnership with other organisations such as CORE, CRUK and NIHR provide a patient perspective on trial
design and the content of patient information leaflets.
- Achieve a written Health Warning printed on all 'over the counter' antacids and acid-suppressants sold in the
UK by 2020. This will encourage individuals using such medications to consult their GP for consideration of
- Improve standards of medical care to increase early detection (see Awareness and Education).
AWARENESS & EDUCATION
1. Raise awareness of risk factors for oesophageal cancer and the existence of the condition
Barrett's Oesophagus (BO) amongst the public.
- Increase awareness amongst politicians and policy makers.
- Support the Department of Health 'Be Clear on Cancer' campaign.
- Produce & distribute educational lay literature (electronic & paper, working with the media, pharmacies & GPs).
2. Continue our programme of raising awareness amongst/education of, the medical profession.
- Continuing to promote the adoption of our BMJ learning module as part of medical education and continuing
- Improve quality of endoscopy services for diagnosis and surveillance in collaboration with professional bodies
such as BSG, JAG and AUGIS.
- Introduce quality metrics for upper GI endoscopy in Barrett's.
- Support collection of data/audit to determine whether centralization of surveillance is warranted in
collaboration with BSG and AUGIS.
3. Promote education and collaboration amongst clinicians and researchers in the field.
- Promotion of the Annual National Barrett's Symposium to become the premier event for oesophageal
cancer researchers in UK and Europe.
- Continue and expand completion/prize giving at the Annual Symposium to promote and attract talented
researchers and clinicians into the field.
1. Continue to provide the 'Ask a Doctor' service currently being offered through the website.
2. Provide an opportunity for patients to meet with researchers and health care professionals as well as
information on state of the art research through local initiatives and National Barrett's Symposium.
Heartburn Cancer Uk is registered in England and Wales. Company limited by Guarantee. Company Registration Number: 07227937
Charity Registration Number: 1136413. Registered Office: Orchard House, Walton Lane, Bosham, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 8QB