Esophageal Cancer Awareness Week (May 10-16, 2009)

This week, May 10–16, 2009, marks Esophageal Cancer Awareness Week in Toronto. This is a cause close to my heart and I think it is very important to spread awareness of this rare and aggressive form of cancer. My father was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer in October 2006 and underwent chemotherapy and radiation. Unfortunately, the treatments did not work and the cancer spread to his liver. He fought hard, but in the end, he lost his battle with cancer in November 2007.

Esophageal Cancer is a very aggressive cancer and is often detected too late. There is also not a lot of research being done so awareness of signs and symptoms is crucial. I personally had never heard of Esophageal Cancer until my father was diagnosed. This disease is quickly becoming one of the deadliest forms of cancer out there with a survival rate of less than 25%. More and more I am hearing from others who are affected or have been affected by this disease and sadly most stories do not have a happy ending.

Causes of Esophageal Cancer (taken from the Canadian Cancer Society website)

Most people diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus are over the age of 60. Men are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus than women.

There is no single cause of esophageal cancer, but some factors increase the risk of developing it:

• Barrett’s esophagus
• smoking or chewing tobacco
• drinking a lot of alcohol, especially if you also use tobacco
• irritation or damage caused by exposure to chemicals or drinking very hot liquids often
• having had other cancers in the head, neck or digestive system

Some people develop esophageal cancer without any of these risk factors.

For more information on Esophageal Cancer contact your doctor, or visit the Canadian Cancer Society.

6 thoughts on “Esophageal Cancer Awareness Week (May 10-16, 2009)

  1. What an important post. I think it is so important for people to be aware of all these illnesses. Education and early detection is so important.
    I know how important this is to you- thank you for helping all of us!

  2. I am so sorry about your dad. Yes, the numbers are too high and they are gettting higher. EC is now the number # cancer killer right behind pancreatic cancer.
    I was one of the lucky ones and as such make sure that anyone and everyone I come in contact with knows what EC is an how to prevent it. Too many people have heartburn and think that they are fixing it with antacids or prescription meds when all they are really doing is masking the symptoms, not finding the cause.
    Rolaids were a food group to me for 20 years! When the heartburn disappeared I thought it was a good thing. Little did I know, it was still there, just silent.
    Good for you for promoting EC Awareness Week. More people need to know about EC so they can prevent it from happening to them
    Take Care

    Thank you so much for your comment. I am very happy to hear that you are one of the lucky ones!! My father suffered from mild heartburn and acid reflux for a good part of his life but when the antacids he was taking didn’t seem to be doing anything his doctor ordered an x-ray and something showed up. He was referred to a specialist and then everything started to unfold from there. It is still so difficult to wrap my head around. I encourage everyone to be diligent and aware if they suffer from heartburn/acid reflux. It has been shown to cause esophageal cancer and if you do suffer from it be sure to voice your concerns to your doctor and take the necessary precautions (ie endoscopy).

    Thank you for continuing to spread the word on Esophageal Cancer! I wish you good health!!🙂

  3. I just found you on Twitter b/c of Italian focus and our effort on Italian jewelry. Then I read the cancer post. It’s the same my father has right now so I know where you’re coming from.

    If you want to chat, contact me on Twitter I (re)tweeted your blog.

  4. My prayers go out to you and your family. It is a horrible thing to go through. I am a survivor of EC and when I was 1 1/2 yrs. out I became (unexpectedly) pregnant and now have a healthy and happy 19 mo. old boy. Life turns on a dime and unfortunately you are right – there is not enough awareness out there. I want to make a difference.

    Thank you for your kind words. I am really happy to hear such a beautiful survivor story. I wish there were more. Continue spreading the word so that can happen!! All the best to you and your new baby boy!! Congratulations!

  5. I have just been diagnosed with EC , stage IIB
    and have not begun treatment. The disease came on with no warning. I rarely had acid reflux. When I started having difficulty swallowing I mentioned it back in Feb. and was told to “see if it goes away” and we’ll watch it.
    Here it is , the end of September and nothing will be done before the 2nd week in Oct. I didn’t realize the aggressiveness of EC

    It took my family by surprise as well. I read all the time, that people don’t feel the symptoms until much later on. I hope your treatments go well! Fight hard, show the cancer who is really boss!! And, remember, stay positive. Sending positive thoughts and prayers your way….go kick some cancer ass!!

  6. My husband Bob also had esophageal cancer and passed away after complications from surgery.

    The public should be made more aware of this type of cancer but other cancers seem to be getting more attention, yet this type of cancer is more deadly than other types of cancer.

    When is the next awareness week regarding this type of cancer?

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