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The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation Issues Esophageal Cancer Research Funding For the Second Time

December 14, 2018

The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation has issued funding for esophageal cancer research in November, 2018; the second time in just seven years since the charity was founded.

The Foundation awarded principal investigator, Dr. Donald Low and Virginia Mason Medical Center, grant funding.  Dr. George Hanna of St Mary’s Hospital (Imperial College London) is co-investigator.

In 2011, The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation was established to raise awareness, encourage early detection and to fund research of esophageal cancer.  Since 2011, the foundation has both raised awareness and encouraged the importance of earliest possible detection throughout New England, across the United States and internationally.  The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation first funded esophageal cancer research in July, 2015.

“The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation is excited to be a part of Dr. Low’s, Professor Hanna’s and Virginia Mason’s research efforts in honor of all the brave men and women who have been affected by esophageal cancer and to hopefully reduce incidence and improve outcomes for individuals in the future,” President of the foundation, stated.

The research intends to establish a non-invasive test for the detection of esophageal cancer that is based upon the unique signature of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) within exhaled breath and to analyze exhaled VOCs in response to therapeutic intervention in patients.

Learn the Facts About Esophageal Cancer

One of the primary risk factors associated with esophageal cancer is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, also known as GERD or acid reflux disease, of which the most common symptom is chronic heartburn.  Other risk factors include obesity, heavy drinking, poor nutrition and smoking and/or use of tobacco products.

With over a 733% increase in the past four decades, esophageal cancer is among the fastest growing and deadliest cancers in the United States and the western world.1

There are no current standard or routine screenings to detect esophageal cancer in its earlier stages. Current guidelines recommend referral for endoscopy “only in the setting of ‘red flag’ symptoms that are frequently associated with inoperable disease,” Dr. Low stated.

These ‘red flag’ symptoms, such as difficulty swallowing, typically appear once the cancer has become advanced.  This, in addition with other factors mentioned, leads to the current overall five-year survival rate of only 19.2%.2  Despite its rapid increase and poor prognosis, esophageal cancer receives very little awareness and research funding.

The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation

The Salgi Foundation: Past Esophageal Cancer Research Funding

In July, 2015, the Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation issued esophageal cancer research funding to Program Director Dr. Carlos Minacapelli and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnston Medical School.  That research was presented as a poster presentation during Digestive Disease Week in May, 2017.

Thank you!

The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation would like to thank all our supporters and donors who believe in this mission and who make these accomplishments possible.  However, this is just the beginning.  The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation continuously receives many requests for esophageal cancer research.  We need to continue our efforts to fundraise so that we may continue to fulfill this mission to raise awareness, encourage early detection and fund research.

To make a tax-deductible donation to The Salgi Esophageal Cancer Research Foundation, please visit: SALGI.org/donate.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

1 “Esophageal Cancer Sees Dramatic Spike.” Gastroenterology and Endoscopy News. 18 October 2018. https://www.gastroendonews.com/In-the-News/Article/10-18/Esophageal-Cancer-Sees-Dramatic-Spike-/53083

2 “Cancer Stat Facts: Esophageal Cancer.” National Cancer Institute, Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program.  11 December 2018. https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/esoph.html

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‘Jumping genes’ may drive esophageal cancer, Cancer Research UK

July 10, 2015

Cancer Research UK scientists have found that ‘jumping genes’ may add to the genetic chaos behind more than three-quarters of esophageal cancer cases, according to research published in BMC Genomics.

The scientists, from the University of Cambridge, used cutting-edge technology that can read DNA to study the genes of 43 esophageal tumour and blood samples to discover how much these mobile genetic sequences travel.

‘Jumping genes’, called L1 elements, can uproot themselves and move to new areas in the DNA, sometimes accidentally moving into genes that control the cell’s growth.

They found evidence that this happened around 100 times in each tumour sample, and in some tumours it happened 700 times.

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Image: Cancer Research UK

If a jumping gene lands in or near an important gene that controls cell growth, it can wreak havoc, changing how the gene works so that it inadvertently tells the cell to grow and divide out of control – which could lead to cancer.

Study author Dr Paul Edwards, at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, said: “These jumping genes play hopscotch across our genetic code in cancer cells more than in normal cells. When one of these mobile genetic sequences plants itself in the middle of a gene that controls the cell’s growth it radically alters how the cell behaves, which can sometimes cause cancer.

“Research has shown that this might also happen in lung and bowel cancers. So it’s vital we find out more about how the cells do this in a bid to find ways to treat these cancers.”

The research is part of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) – a global project using the latest gene sequencing technology to reveal the genetic changes behind cancer.  The esophageal cancer project is funded by Cancer Research UK.

Dr Kat Arney, Cancer Research UK’s science information manager, said: “Esophageal cancer is one of the hardest cancers to treat, and we are committed to funding more research to find out its underlying causes. These new findings reveal more about the genetic chaos that underpins esophageal tumours, and could one day help us develop better ways to diagnose, treat and monitor the disease.”

References: Paterson et al. Mobile element insertions are frequent in oesophageal adenocarcinomas and can mislead paired end sequencing analysis. BMC Genomics. DOI: 10.1186/s12864-015-1685-z.

This post is based on materials provided by Cancer Research UK.


Study links abdominal fat (visceral) to increased risk of Barrett’s esophagus

February 14, 2014

A recent study shows that carrying more weight in the midsection may increase one’s risk of developing Barrett’s esophagus, a precursor to esophageal cancer.

Health.Harvard.edu

Barrett’s esophagus is “a disorder in which the lining of the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach) is damaged by stomach acid and changed to a lining similar to that of the stomach.”*  Barrett’s esophagus has been shown to be a precursor to esophageal cancer.  

This study linked a higher amount of visceral fat to a greater risk of Barrett’s esophagus.

The fat located in the abdominal region is either defined as visceral or subcutaneous. Visceral fat surrounds the organs in the abdominal region, while subcutaneous fat is located between the skin and the abdominal wall. 

Researchers reported that the elevated risk of Barrett’s esophagus related to the increase of visceral abdominal fat was found in both those who have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) symptoms and also those who do not experience GERD symptoms.

For a more information on the study, please refer to the following two articles:

“Visceral abdominal obesity measured by CT scan is associated with an increased risk of Barrett’s oesophagus: a case-control study.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine

“Visceral adipose tissue increased risk for Barrett’s esophagus.” Healio Gastroenterology

*“Barrett’s esophagus.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine 


Is your heartburn affecting your sleep?

February 11, 2014

Suffering from heartburn, whether be it during the day or at night, is an annoyance that many Americans cope with, some on a daily basis. An alarming 60 million Americans experience it at least once a month and 25 million Americans suffer from heartburn every day. When heartburn is this frequent or severe, people may be diagnosed with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, more commonly known as GERD.

The United States National Library of Medicine defines GERD as “a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach).” This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle between the esophagus and stomach, becomes damaged or weakened.

If not properly treated, long-term sufferers of GERD can develop serious medical conditions, which include chronic cough or hoarseness, esophagitis, bleeding, scarring or ulcers of the esophagus and Barrett’s esophagus, an abnormal change in the lining of the esophagus that can potentially raise the risk of developing esophageal cancer.

It is important to note that many patients who are diagnosed with GERD do not experience heartburn at all. Below are the most frequently reported symptoms of GERD:

• Heartburn (a symptom of acid reflux)
• Bad breath
• Burning or pain in the chest or throat
• Chronic cough
• Hoarseness or chronic sore throat
• Bitter taste in mouth
• Inflammation in the mouth and erosion of teeth
• Problems swallowing
• Asthma-like symptoms
• Excessive belching

GERD is amongst the most prevalent upper gastrointestinal (GI) disorders and most likely one of the most common disease diagnosed by Gastroenterologists across our nation.

For many, GERD does not just disrupt their daily routine, but their sleep as well. GERD sufferers who have trouble sleeping at night could also go on to experience other health problems such as insomnia, sleep apnea, sleepiness during the day and restless leg syndrome.

It is best to first speak to a gastroenterologist or a primary health care provider to see what options are available to treat GERD effectively. Below are some helpful tips in order to reduce GERD symptoms and enjoy a better night’s sleep.

• Eat smaller meals
• Chew food slowly and thoroughly
• Say upright after meals
• Avoid foods which trigger your GERD symptoms (fats, spicy foods, alcohol)
• Keep a food journal to track your “trigger foods”
• Try sleeping with your head elevated. Either with extra pillows or a wedge pillow
• Restrict your eating in the evening
• Do not eat or drink anything two hours before bedtime (with the exception of water for medications.)

Again, please consult your doctor if you are having problems sleeping at night or are experiencing frequent or severe heartburn.  These suggestions are intended for informational purposes only.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Sources:
National Sleep Foundation
WebMD
American College of Gastroenterology 
 
 
 

‘Missed Opportunities in GERD Complication Screenings’

January 30, 2014

High-risk patients don’t always get endoscopic examination for Barrett’s esophagus, cancer, say researchers.
Outpatient Surgery Magazine

Men aged 65 years and older are much more likely to suffer the complications of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), such as Barrett’s esophagus and esophageal, gastric or duodenal cancer, but they’re much less likely to undergo endoscopic screenings that can detect these complications, according to recent research.

Go to full story in Outpatient Surgery here.

 

 

 

 

 


How is esophageal cancer diagnosed?

January 28, 2014

 Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy

During this procedure, a doctor uses an endoscope to see the upper GI tract which consists of the esophagus, stomach and the first part of the small intestine.  An endoscope is a lightweight, flexible, hollow instrument equipped with a lens which allows the doctor to see these internal parts.  Examining the esophagus, the doctor is looking for any abnormalities; inflammation, areas which have been irritated, abnormal growths or cancer. The procedure is generally preformed while a patient is under sedation.  Sedation is not required for all patients as some receive minimal to no sedation.   Doctors utilize endoscopy procedures to also detect ulcers, abnormal growths in the stomach or first part of small intestines, bowel obstructions or hiatal hernias.  There are small risks associated with an endoscopy such as bleeding, tissue infection and tears in the gastrointestinal tract.  These are rare instances, the Mayo Clinic reports that the latter occurs in about three to five out of every 10,000 upper endoscopies.

X-Ray

Also, known as a barium swallow or esophagram, is an upper gastroentestional series of X-rays used to examine the esophagus for any abnormal conditions.  This test requires patient to drink a thick liquid that temporarily coats the lining of the esophagus.  This will highlight the lining of the esophagus clearly on the X-rays to help better detect any abnormality.

Biopsy

If during an endoscopy, doctors finds any suspicious tissue, they will use an endoscope (defined above) passed down the throat into the esophagus to collect a sample of the tissue.  This tissue sample is then sent to a laboratory which will look for cancer cells.

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cancer research foundation, salgi, salgi foundation, salgi esophageal, salgi esophageal cancer, salgi esophageal cancer research, salgi esophageal cancer research foundation, salgi esophageal foundation, foundation salgi, esophageal cancer awareness salgi, esophageal cancer awareness salgi ri, ri esophageal cancer awareness salgi, ri salgi esophageal cancer, salgi esophageal cancer awareness ri salgi, salgi treatment esophageal cancer, salgi treatment esophageal cancer awareness, salgi treatment esophageal cancer awareness ri, Esophageal Cancer Walk/Run, Cancer Walk, Cancer Walk RI, Walk RI, Run RI, Rhode Island Walk, Rhode Island Cancer, Cancer Walks in RI, Cancer Run in RI, Run for charity, Run in RI, cancer run, cancer walk, cancer walk ri, cancer run ri, esophageal cancer, cancer of the esophagus, cancer, esophageal cancer ri, cancer of esophagus, ri cancer, cancer awareness, cancer research, cancer prevention, ri cancer research, ri cancer prevention, ri cancer treatment, ri 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Unfortunately, esophageal cancer is often detected late because symptoms do not occur until the cancer has progressed. 

This is why we stress the importance of speaking to your doctor about your frequent GERD symptoms and discuss the different ways in which they can be controlled.  For many, lifestyle changes, such as monitoring food and beverage ‘reflux triggers’ and losing weight, can help alleviate acid reflux.  (Click here to read more tips on how to manage acid reflux.)

Too often, esophageal cancer is diagnosed at advanced and/or incurable stages due to the late onset of symptoms. This makes the cancer difficult if not impossible to treat and often results in 80% of patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer dying within the first year.

Let’s work together to change the statistics regarding esophageal cancer.  If you are experiencing frequent acid reflux, consult your doctor and be sure to also share this message with your family and friends.  Click on the share buttons below to spread the word and save lives!

 

 

Gastro.net.au
MayoClinic
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy 

RefluxMD: “Diagnosing GERD: The First Step Towards Treatment”

January 16, 2014

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) elevates one’s risk of developing esophageal cancer (adenocarcinoma.)  The risk further increases based on the severity of symptoms (ie. heartburn and regurgitation from the stomach) and how long it goes without being properly treated.

The United States National Library of Medicine defines GERD as “a condition in which the stomach contents (food or liquid) leak backwards from the stomach into the esophagus (the tube from the mouth to the stomach).” This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle between the esophagus and stomach, becomes damaged or weakened.

Esophageal cancer adenocarinoma is the fastest growing cancer in the United States and also one of the deadliest cancers.  Since the cancer is often detected late, the survival rate is extremely low.   Therefore, it is crucial to speak to your doctor if you or someone you know is suffering from frequent heartburn and/or regurgitation.

There are many tests that can be performed to accurately diagnose GERD.  Too often, PPIs (proton pump inhibitors) are prescribed by doctors for the treatment of GERD.  PPIs function are to only manage GERD symptoms they do not repair the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Unfortunately, these medications do not relieve all patients from their GERD symptoms and they are not intended to be taken for a long period of time as they can cause serious long-term health effects.

Our friends at RefluxMD put together a fantastic article which describes the various ways your doctor can assess your condition.  Don’t ignore frequent heartburn!  Take the very first step in managing your GERD symptoms by reading this article.  Click here to learn more.

We are thankful for resources such as our friends at RefluxMD.  By working together, we can continue to raise awareness of esophageal cancer and dangerous risk factors such as GERD.