Mystery as cancer afflicts men
Men are contracting a cancer of the throat at a rate three times that suffered by women, it was revealed today.
Experts say obesity is one of the causes of the problem.
Figures show that oesophageal cancer - which affects the food pipe or gullet - now affects 5,600 men a year in the UK. This compares with 2,800 women.
Cancer Research UK experts said the increasing rates are caused by the adenocarcinoma kind of disease, rather than the squamous cell version.
This is linked to obesity, tobacco and chronic heartburn caused by acid.
Among men adenocarcinoma cases have nearly doubled in the last 14 years, experts said.
Tim Underwood, of Southampton University, an oesophageal surgeon, said: “These figures show a worrying number of oesophageal cancers being diagnosed each year, particularly among men.
“Diagnosing the disease earlier is key to improving the chances of survival. Food getting stuck when you swallow and persistent heart burn are not normal. If this is happening to you, you need to see your GP. The vast majority of people won’t have anything seriously wrong with them, but it’s important to get checked out."
Mr Underwood is one of a team of staff from Southampton planning to run the New York Marathon to raise some £100,000 for research.
Donna Sharland, a specialist nurse from the team, said: “Every day I ask patients to give far more than they ever thought they could, so I feel it is my turn to step out of the comfort zone, and push myself to see how much reserve I have. My patients don’t have the luxury of being able to stay in their comfort zone."