There is a condition which, according to Mayo Clinic in USA, probably affects 1 person in 20, or up to 3 million people in Britain but fewer than 150 thousand know. It can also lead to death from the fourth most common cancer killer of men in UK, claiming, on average, the life of one person an hour but the chances are, you've never heard of it.
Barrett's Oesophagus is a possible consequence of persistent acid reflux.
Now patient support charities worldwide specialising in the disease are joining forces to raise awareness of this condition by declaring 16th May as World Barrett's Day.
So what is Barrett's Oesophagus?
Put simply, acid splashing up from the stomach attacks the oesophagus (food pipe). The body may respond by providing "armour plating" cells to protect it. That is Barrett's. Unfortunately, in a small number of cases, those cells can mutate to cancer. The message from Barrett's patient support groups is not to ignore acid reflux, which may be experienced as heartburn. If it occurs frequently, see you doctor. If Barrett's is found, patients will receive regular surveillance every few years to look for pre-cancerous changes whilst early enough to be treated. Unfortunately, too many do not seek help until it's too late.
Patient support charity Barrett's Wessex, their associated research charity Barrett's Oesophagus UK and their Spanish counterpart Asenbar, have collaborated to produce a website for World Barrett's Day with the message "Prevention is better than cure".
Barrett's Wessex charity was originally established in 2008 to serve patients in Southampton but rapidly spread to establish support groups across Wessex region and beyond including an online forum and managing an international Facebook group - Barrett's Esophagus Awareness. Its founder and president, Chris Robinson, has also compiled a "best selling" but free encyclopaedia, Down With Acid that has been reprinted 3 times with thousands of copies downloaded from its own website, and now also translated into Spanish.
Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Barrett's Wessex, on Wednesday 13 May, 2020. For more information subscribe and follow https://pressat.co.uk/