President's reflux diagnosis in wake of sore throat
"teachable moment" says ECAN
Hopes Americans learn more about symptoms & risks of reflux
In reflux disease, also called GERD (gastroesophageal
reflux disease), stomach contents, including stomach acid, backs up into the
esophagus and sometimes all the way up to the throat. This can burn the lining
of the esophagus and throat, causing inflammation.
of President Obama’s recent reflux
disease diagnosis could help save the lives of thousands of Americans living
with the same condition. After
complaining of a sore throat for weeks, the President was diagnosed with reflux disease.
this announcement will be a teachable moment for those living with a persistent
sore throat and other symptoms that few associate with reflux disease. Most
of us don’t think of a sore throat, hoarse voice, persistent cough or choking
when we lie down as symptoms of reflux disease, which mostly, we think of as heartburn.
“The focus of
national media on the fact that President Obama discovered his reflux
because of a persistent sore throat elevates the understanding of the
link between reflux and symptoms that aren’t usually associated with the
condition,” said gastroenterologist ECAN Chairman Dr. Bruce D.
Greenwald, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine
and Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.
understanding of the various – but often misunderstood – symptoms of reflux
disease could save lives because reflux disease is the cause of one of the
deadliest and fastest increasing cancers in the United States.
type of Esophageal Cancer that kills the most Americans is caused by reflux
disease. But symptoms of this cancer
don’t appear until the disease has progressed to stages when it is nearly
impossible to treat successfully. So
most Esophageal Cancer isn’t discovered until it reaches those deadly late
stages. That’s why fewer than 20 percent of Esophageal Cancer patients will
survive five years – most die within the
first 12 months of diagnosis.
reflux disease changes the lining of the esophagus on the way to producing
cancer, it creates a diagnosable condition known as
Barrett’s Esophagus. In precancerous cases, this condition
can be treated and cured with new, outpatient procedures. The result is that many patients who discover
their disease early will never have to go on to develop cancer. That’s the reason why ECAN works tirelessly
to increase public awareness about the link between reflux disease and
disease will never lead to cancer for most people, but we don’t yet have a way
to determine who will be unlucky and develop this devastating disease,” said Mindy Mintz Mordecai, ECAN’s President
and CEO, who founded the non-profit after
losing her husband and the father of their two young daughters to esophageal
cancer in 2008.
husband choked and coughed at night for years without realizing he had
reflux. Since founding ECAN, Mordecai has heard countless stories about
patients who never realized they had symptoms of reflux disease or never told
their healthcare provider about it until it was too late.
why we believe everyone needs to pay attention to their reflux symptoms,” she
Cancer affects men four times more often than women and more often it affects
men over the age of 50. With this in mind, ECAN encourages the President (age
53) to undergo endoscopic examination of his esophagus to be certain he is not at
risk for this deadly disease.
On Giving Tuesday, ECAN supporters #unselfie'd with messages of hope and determination
ECAN supporters participated in Giving Tuesday on December 2nd by donating, volunteering and by posting important "unselfie" messages on social media about why they support ECAN.
ECAN's Founder Selected for NCI Task Force
Representing Patients' Interests in Research Funding Decisions
The Esophageal Cancer Action Network is proud to announce that ECAN President & CEO
Mindy Mintz Mordecai has been named to the National Cancer Institute's
Esophagogastric Task Force of the
Gastrointestinal Steering Committee and
the NCI Patient Advocate Steering Committee.
Ms. Mordecai serves as a Patient Advocate Representative on the Task Force that is focused on improving the clinical research that impacts Esophageal and Gastric cancer
"It's a great honor and priviledge to be selected as one of two advocates representing patients on this important Task Force," said Ms. Mordecai. "Because research dollars are so scarce, especially for Esophageal and Gastric cancers, the decisions made by this group can make a real difference in what can be accomplished in medical research in the future."
The NCI Patient Advocate Steering Committee works to make the voice of patients heard as
important research decisions are made at the National Cancer Institute.
They Ran to Save Lives & Heal the Pain of Loss Daughters ran Marathons to support ECAN in Memory of their Dads
Melissa Maguire ran the New York City Marathon
|Melissa Maguire runs in 2013 NYC Marathon;
with her father James Maguire at her wedding
Melissa Maguire of Jersey City, New Jersey joined more than 50,000 runners in the 2014 New York
City Marathon. Along with fellow marathoners, Melissa had an unseen running buddy.
“He may not be by my side anymore, but he is
not lost to me,” said Maguire, speaking of her dad, James Maguire of Matawan, N.J., Her father was healthy and
active throughout his life. But in 2008 at the age of 60, he started experiencing pain
in his abdomen and was diagnosed with Stage IV Esophageal Cancer.
“My father was my hero and life preserver,” Maguire said. “I had been a daddy’s girl my whole life and
the thought of losing him was crushing. I needed an outlet for my stress and it
turned out to be running.”
An Executive Producer with NY1, New York City's 24-hour local TV news station, Melissa ran her first half-marathon in 2009 with her father
cheering from the sidelines. Sadly, the cancer eventually spread to his brain and James Maguire died
on Jan. 7, 2011.
With two marathons under her belt, Melissa decided to partner with ECAN for this year’s New York City Marathon. You can still support Melissa's Marathon at www.crowdrise.com/milesformaguire/fundraiser/melissamaguire.
“I decided this time around to raise money for ECAN because
no one should have to say goodbye to their daddy when he’s only 63,” Maguire
said. “Heartburn should not be ignored
because, as ECAN’s slogan says, it can cause cancer.”
Jessica Sargent ran the Marine Corps Marathon
|Jessica Sargent with Marathon medal (L);
runs in shirt back in memory of her dad;
bride & father Thomas Burns at wedding
Among the more than 30,000 runners who participated in the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon through
Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. on October 26th, one
25-year-old woman was running to save lives.
That’s because Jessica Sargent wore the message that Heartburn can cause Cancer on her back
in the hope that other families won’t have to suffer as hers did.
The week before her May 2013 wedding, her father, Thomas “Burnzy” Burns was diagnosed with stage III esophageal
cancer. Despite aggressive chemotherapy
and radiation treatments, a 14-hour surgery
and “his unwavering spirit,” her father passed away, Oct. 25, 2013. He was 48 years old.
“Running has always been an outlet for me and it
took on a new role in my life as I coped with the loss of my father,” said Sargent,
nurse at St Luke’s University Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
“When I realized that the 2014 Marine Corps
Marathon would take place on the weekend that marks the one-year anniversary of Daddy's death, I immediately
knew that I needed to run it for him and all the other esophageal cancer patients that leave us too soon,” she added. “While training for this marathon,
very close to my dad – as though he is right there with me cheering me along
with each step.”
has partnered with ECAN and created a fundraising campaign in conjunction with
her participation in the marathon. Gifts
can be donated online at http://tinyurl.com/Jessica-ECAN-run.
with ECAN, I can help make people aware that heartburn can cause cancer.”
Congressional Caucus on Deadliest Cancers
ECAN active member of coalition backing the effort
A bipartisan caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives has been formed to focus attention on cancers with a survival rate of less than 50%, including Esophageal Cancer. The caucus was formed with the support of the Deadliest Cancers Coalition which is a collaboration of organizations, including ECAN, that are focused on these deadly cancers.
A briefing was organized by the Congressional Caucus on the Deadlist Cancers drew a standing-room only crowd and featured remarks from co-chairs of the Caucus, including Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-CA, pictured here.
ECAN is working to increase membership in the caucus and will launch a campaign to raise awareness among members of Congress about the need for more resources and public awareness about Esophageal Cancer and other of the deadliest cancers. You can participate in our advocacy effort by signing up here.
1st HEARING about CANCER on the HILL IN 6 YRS!
SEE and HEAR it HERE
including Testimony from Actor Valerie Harper
and NCI Director Harold Varmus