Padraig Harrington, showing his support for Lollipop Day.
Ireland’s only fundraising and awareness campaign for oesophageal cancer, Lollipop Day, will run across the country this February 23rd and 24th. Irish oesophageal cancer rates remain among the highest in Europe, with a continued recent rise in incidence, particularly in men.
Oesophageal Cancer Fund (OCF) is asking that the public buy a lollipop (€2) from volunteers nationwide on February 23rd and 24th to show support and help fund research into oesophageal cancer.
Oesophageal cancer starts in the food pipe, also known as your oesophagus or gullet. The oesophagus is the tube that carries food from your mouth to your stomach. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty when swallowing food.
- Frequent and persistent hiccups.
- Acid indigestion, heartburn reflux.
- Constant burping, belching, coughing.
Prof. John Reynolds, St. James’s Hospital and the head of the Barrett’s Oesophagus Register project, said: “Oesophageal cancer is a difficult cancer to treat, but like all cancer the earlier it is caught the easier it is to cure, and prevention and early diagnosis are our best strategies for the future. A greater awareness of risk factors, including Barrett’s oesophagus, as well as improved quality of all aspects of treatment are elements underpinning advances in care and outcomes.”
The aim of the campaign is to increase public awareness of the symptoms of oesophageal cancer and to highlight how the cancer can be prevented or diagnosed early to improve cure rates. The OCF is calling on the public to buy a lollipop for €2 and to be aware of the symptoms which are sometimes mistaken for conditions like heartburn or acid reflux.
Noelle Ryan Oesophageal Cancer Fund CEO said: “Since the OCF began this campaign 17 years ago, we have seen an increased awareness among Irish people of oesophageal cancer. Volunteers will be taking to the streets right across the country on Friday and Saturday (23rd and 24th). We are calling on people to support Lollipop Day, by purchasing a lollipop and urging those experiencing swallowing difficulties; those who suffer with chronic or severe persistent reflux symptoms such as heartburn to attend their GP for advice.”