Experts across Europe Call for Earlier Detection of Oesophageal Cancer in a Bid to Improve Survival Rates - European Medical Journal

Experts across Europe Call for Earlier Detection of Oesophageal Cancer in a Bid to Improve Survival Rates

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(May 21, 2015) Recent estimates indicate that more than 34,000 new cases of oesophageal cancer are recorded across Europe annually, with incidence more than three times higher in men than women and only a 12% survival rate at five years1.

European body – United European Gastroenterology – is calling for greater use of pioneering techniques to pick up early signs of the disease in a bid to improve outcomes and survival rates. Less invasive and cost effective techniques such as the novel Cytosponge, which once swallowed mops up cells for molecular analysis, can highlight early cell changes associated with oesophageal cancer. “As the Cytosponge is non-invasive and the test results objective and accurate, we hope that it will lead to more widespread diagnosis, enabling doctors to intervene earlier before oesophageal cancer advances” explains UEG spokesperson and lead researcher, Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, who helped to develop the test2.

One of the primary risk factors in oesophageal cancer is severe long-standing gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD) and UEG is encouraging patients to have a better understanding of the condition in order to improve earlier detection of complications. “GORD, which occurs when acid from the stomach travels up into the oesophagus, can lead to serious complications, including pre-malignant changes called Barrett’s oesophagus, which is why we are keen to promote early diagnosis and better understanding of GORD” explains Professor Fitzgerald.

UEG will be supporting this year’s World Digestive Health Day on May 29, 2015, with the theme focusing on raising greater awareness of GORD.



Stephen E Roberts, David G Samuel, John G Williams, Kymberley Thorne, Sian Morrison-Rees, Ann John, Ashley Akbari, Judy C Williams – United European Gastroenterology, Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe, August 2014
Fitzgerald RC. UEG Journal 2015. First published 13 March 2015.

Notes to Editors

About UEG

UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge.

To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:

UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world. MEDIA REGISTRATION NOW OPEN
UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion
Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations
UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology
EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe
Find out more about UEG’s work. Visit

About Cytosponge

Led by Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald from the University of Cambridge, the Cytosponge trial – called BEST-2 – is looking at the accuracy of this ‘sponge on a string’, which aims to help doctors diagnose oesophageal cancer at an early stage. The Cytosponge trial has now recruited over 1000 patients from Centres across the country,

The results of the trial, winner of UEG’s Research Prize for innovation, indicate that not only is the Cytosponge preferred by patients over other methods, but crucially, that it is as accurate in diagnosis (and more cost effective) than endoscopy.

About World Digestive Health Day

WDHD is a World Gastroenterology Organisation initiative held on May 29th every year

About Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald

Prof. Fitzgerald is a member of the UEG Scientific Committee and a consultant physician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambidge, UK

For further information and interviews, please contact:
Luke Paskins:
[email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099

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