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Regular heartburn can be sign of cancer

Having heartburn most days for three weeks or more can be a sign of cancer, according to a health campaign.

A national Be Clear on Cancer campaign launch coincides with results of a new survey commissioned by Public Health England, which reveals only one in two people (55pc) would visit their doctor if they had heartburn most days for three weeks or more.

Having the complaint that often can be a sign of oesophageal or stomach cancer, the campaign warns.


Early diagnosis of oesophageal or stomach cancer - also known as oesophago-gastric cancers - is crucial and means treatment is more likely to be successful.

Around 67pc of people diagnosed with oesophago-gastric cancers at the earliest stage survive for at least five years, but this figure drops to around 3pc for those diagnosed at a late stage.

The survey of 1,046 people found 59pc of respondents did not know that heartburn could be a sign of cancer, with just 15pc saying they were certain that it is a symptom.

Another symptom highlighted by the campaign is a difficulty swallowing food. The survey found that 70pc did not know food sticking in the throat could be a sign of cancer.

Of those diagnosed with oesophago-gastric cancers, more than nine out of 10 people are over the age of 50, making this the target age group for the campaign.