PEOPLE in Worcestershire are being encouraged to be aware of the signs of oesophageal cancer.

Every year 200 people in the county are affected with the disease, which affects the part of the digestive system which carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach.

Signs and symptoms of oesophageal – or gullet – cancer include difficulty or pain while swallowing with a sensation of food ‘sticking’, food coming back up, heartburn or indigestion, unexplained weight loss, coughing up blood, pain or discomfort in the throat or the back or a hoarse voice or cough that will not go away.

Although many of the symptoms can be caused by conditions other than cancer anyone concerned should talk to their GP.

As with most forms of the disease, the risk of developing oesophageal cancer increases with age. Around eight out of 10 cases are diagnosed in people aged 60 and over.

The disease is tackled by a team of specialist nurses, consultant surgeons and medical experts at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which was recently shortlisted for a national British Medical Journal award for their work

Specialist nurse Donna Traynor provided support and care to patients across Worcestershire with oesophageal cancer and said it was important to be aware of the signs of the disease.

“If patients have recurrent issues it is important to seek medical advice to rule out any serious issues,” she said.

“Symptoms are quite common but it is important rule out any possible signs of cancer.”

For medical advice visit for GP or call NHS 111.