Latest study warns that persistent heartburns may be a sign of stomach or esophageal cancer, which arises from the foodpipe that runs between the stomach and the throat.

On Monday, Jan. 26, Public Health England (PHE) launched the '"Be Clear on Cancer" campaign, which warns people of heartburn as a sign of stomach cancer. PHE urges people with persistent heartburns to visit their doctors as soon as possible.

PHE revealed that per its recent survey only one in every two people visit their doctor if they experienced heartburns most days for three weeks or more. The health agency suggests that early diagnosis for oesophageal, or esophageal, and stomach cancer is very important. Detection of such cancer at an early stage means that treatments are more likely to be effective.

"Earlier diagnosis makes curative treatment possible and could potentially save hundreds of lives," says Professor Michael Griffin, Professor of Surgery, Northern Oesophago-gastric Unit. "You won't be wasting your doctor's time. You will either get reassurance that it isn't cancer, or if it is, you will have a better chance of successful treatment."

PHE suggests that more than 66 percent of stomach cancer patients who are treated at early stage survive for at least 5 years. Unfortunately, people who get treatment at a later stage have only 3 percent of surviving for five years or more.

The PHE survey found that 59 percent of the total respondents were not aware that heartburn can be a sign of stomach cancer. Only 15 percent of all respondents answered that they were sure that heartburn was a symptom of stomach or esophageal cancer.

The health agency also revealed that 70 percent respondents of the survey did not know that difficulty in swallowing or food sticking to the throat was also an indicator of stomach cancer.

PHE revealed that in England about 12,900 people are diagnosed with stomach cancers each year and more than 11,000 people die of the disease each year. The health agency also suggests that stomach cancer is the fourth most common form of cancer in men and fifth most common type of cancer in women.

Experts suggest that campaigns such as Be Clear on Cancer will encourage people with persistent heartburns to visit their doctor.

The National Cancer Institute reveals that in the U.S. more than 22,000 new cases of stomach cancer were reported in 2014 and around 11,000 people died of the disease.

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