A Be Clear on Cancer roadshow visits Eastbourne this week to raise awareness of the symptoms of oesophageal and stomach cancers.
In particular, the roadshow aims to increase understanding that heartburn most days for three weeks or more could be a sign of oesophageal or stomach cancer and anyone who notices the symptoms should see their doctor.
Recent data reveals that in Eastbourne around 30 people are diagnosed with oesophageal or stomach cancer, also known as oesophago-gastric cancers, each year and approximately 30 people die from these diseases annually.
A new survey commissioned found nationally only one in two people would visit their doctor if they had heartburn most days for three weeks or more.
According to the survey, 59 per cent of respondents did not know heartburn could be a sign of cancer with just 15 per cent saying they were certain it is a symptom.
Another symptom highlighted by the roadshow is that of difficulty swallowing food. Here the survey found that 70 per cent did not know food sticking in the throat could be a sign of cancer and just 13 per cent of those surveyed said they were sure it is a symptom.
Early diagnosis is crucial: around 67 per cent of people diagnosed with oesophago-gastric cancers at the earliest stage survive for at least five years. This figure drops to around three per cent for those diagnosed at a late stage.
The roadshow is at Langney Shopping Centre today (Tuesday February 3). At the event, leaflets will be distributed that provide information on oesophago-gastric cancers and a nurse will also be on hand to talk to anyone who has any questions.