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News / February 27, 2008

Lollipops raise awareness of oesophageal cancer

by Guy Hiscott

The seventh annual Lollipop Day took place over the last weekend in February, with the aim of increasing awareness of oesophageal cancer and to raise money for research and patient treatment.

The Oesophageal Cancer Fund hopes that the use of lollipops will have made people conscious of swallowing, as dysphagia is one of the more common symptoms.

Oesophageal cancer is one of the most lethal cancers and it is growing in incidence, particularly in Ireland. Traditionally, it has predominantly afflicted older males, but is increasingly seen in younger people and women.

According to the Oesophageal Cancer Fund, just 25% of people who develop the disease undergo potentially lifesaving surgery. Of these, only around one in three will survive for five years or more. Given these poor survival rates, the ability to recognise the symptoms are essential, as this allows for early diagnosis and treatment.

Professor Tom Walsh, consultant surgeon at Blanchardstown Hospital and the Blackrock Clinic, and professor in surgery in the Royal College of Surgeons, specialises in this form of cancer and has been researching the disease for some years. The funds raised will help scientists and doctors to further their studies on oesophageal cancer.

For more information on the Oesophageal Cancer Fund, visit the website