Leamington man wants changes to system of diagnosis and treatment for oesophagus cancer

Bob MacQueen.
Bob MacQueen.

A cancer patient from Leamington has said there needs to be changes in the system of diagnosis and treatment to save more of those with the same form of the disease.

Bob MacQueen has responded to findings shown in a report by the Oesophageal Cancer Westminster Campaign.

The campaign is a coalition of patient groups that have come together to raise awareness of oesophageal cancer, to support earlier diagnosis and improve patient access to treatment.

The report, using data obtained through the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, set out to show how the diagnosis and treatment of Barrett’s Oesophagus and oesophageal cancer varies across England.

The data collected suggests that there is possible regional variation in treatment, worrying lapses in the recording of important data and possible deficiencies in surveillance of patients in England.

Mr MacQueen said: “Having received treatment for Barrett’s oesophagus I am worried by the findings of the report.

“With a significant chance of becoming cancer, every patient needs to be diagnosed early and treated in the best way possible.

“After suffering from heartburn for years and being placed on a Barrett’s oesophagus surveillance for 14 years, I was diagnosed with cancer.

“After some research I found treatment in London that used an endoscopy rather than having to undergo an operation to remove my oesophagus.

“This treatment worked and I am now free of cancer and also the Barrett’s oesophagus has also been removed.

“I am worried that other people in the Midlands may not be referred for this treatment simply because of their postcode or the knowledge that the treatment is available.

“We need to make sure that all patients diagnosed with Barrett’s or oesophageal cancer in the Midlands have the option of endoscopic treatment rather than surgery and that they are under proper surveillance.”

The campaign has put together a list of recommendations to improve the diagnosis and care of oesophageal cancer and save hundreds of lives a year.

These include improved access to endoscopic therapies at specialised centres nationwide, greater professional awareness of the treatment options and new commissioning and care guidelines to ensure the correct treatment for all patients.

On top of this the campaign wants to see better surveillance for patients with Barrett’s oesophagus - with all patients put on the national registry- and The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines around early intervention strengthened.