The Oxfordshire Oesophageal and Stomach Organisation was founded in March 2009 by Jackie Beaumont who underwent an oesophagectomy in 2007.
The incidence of oesophageal (gullet) cancer is increasing year-on-year whereas the incidence of stomach (gastric) cancer is reducing year-on-year. The reason for the increased incidence of oesophageal cancer is uncertain. However, one real difficulty with these types of cancer is that the symptoms are rather commonplace - indigestion, heartburn - which means that early diagnosis is uncommon. Consequently only approximately 35% of patients diagnosed are potentially operable. At diagnosis, each patient is assessed for fitness as the operation is rated as being more invasive than a triple by-pass or heart transplant. It is a fact that patients who are operated on can lose a large amount of weight and recovery is generally a long term process.
If you are a relative or friend
Some families find it difficult to talk about cancer or share their feelings. You may experience mixed emotions and feel undecided about whether or not to talk about it with the patient. If the patient is prepared to discuss the issue, it is better to have a conversation otherwise it may lead to isolating the patient. Anyone who knows the patient can help enormously by listening carefully to what and how much the person with cancer wants to say. Don’t rush into talking about the illness, it is often enough just to listen and let the patient talk when they are ready.
Financial help and benefits
Finances can be a particular concern during treatment and after surgery. Follow the link to the Maggie’s Centre website – they have welfare benefit advisers who will talk to you in full confidence.
After treatment for cancer, it can be more difficult to get life insurance and travel insurance. To find life insurance it is helpful to contact an independent financial advisor, who can find the best deal for your particular situation. Alternatively, contact a Maggie’s Centre for both types of insurance.
If you would like more information on Tips for Carers and Friends, click here.