Northern Ireland charity OG Cancer NI today warned people with symptoms of oesophageal and stomach cancer to contact their doctor as soon as possible as they launch their “Catch It Early” 2021 awareness campaign.
More than 400 people per year were diagnosed with oesophageal and stomach cancer each year prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and OG Cancer NI, chair, Helen Setterfield, feels it is now more important as ever to make sure that anyone worried seeks help.
“The current lockdowns and urgent need to protect the health service has affected the number of people contacting their doctors,” she said.
“But you should not hesitate to make the call if you experience persistent heartburn that doesn’t go away, trouble swallowing, regurgitation or hiccups that do not go away”
“Recent figures show that there has been a drop in the number of those referred by their GP to the hospital due to showing symptoms in 2020 compared to previous years so we want to make sure that we reverse that
“Early diagnosis leads to a much better chance of survival from this cancer which has a 20% survival rate of five or more years, according to the NI Cancer Registry 2019.”
Helen herself is a survivor of oesophageal cancer as is Shauneen Brown from Lurgan.
Even though the majority of cases are diagnosed in men and women over 60, Shauneen wants everyone to be aware of the symptoms: “I was 40 when I was diagnosed and we know of people in their 30s who have been diagnosed and treated,” she explained.
“Just because you might not fit the typical statistic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your symptoms seriously.”
OG Cancer NI was founded in 2018 and provides telephone support to newly diagnosed patients, information stands in the hospital, wellbeing meetings providing peer to peer and professional advice and support and funding for local research or equipment projects which will improve patient wellbeing.
“We work with GPs to raise awareness so when patients present with the symptoms of Oesophageal and Gastric cancers they take the appropriate action,” said Helen.
“Consult your doctor if you experience persistent or recurring Indigestion, food sticking in your throat, difficulty swallowing, heartburn or acid reflux, hiccups that won’t go away, or unexplained weight loss.”
The OG Cancer NI Catch It Early campaign, funded by the National Lottery and OG Cancer, strives not only to increase the awareness of the signs of oesophageal-gastric cancers in the public but also throughout the medical and caring professions.
For further information go to ogcancerni.com, follow #OGCancerNI, call 07568 157450 or make an appointment to see your local GP today.
NIEA Sign Ambitious Prosperity Agreement with Belfast Harbour
Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA has signed a wide-ranging and ambitious three year Prosperity Agreement between Belfast Harbour and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).
The agreement will see the Harbour commit to reducing CO2 emissions, reducing waste, improving air and water quality and enhancing both terrestrial and marine biodiversity.
Speaking about the 11th Prosperity Agreement signed by the NIEA, the Minister said: “This is a very ambitious agreement which is an excellent example of Green Growth in action where business can grow and prosper while creating tangible environmental improvements including reducing carbon, waste and water usage.
“The agreement will see Belfast Harbour aim for a net zero target by 2030, improve biodiversity, improve air and water quality, reduce waste and aim for zero waste to landfill. This Prosperity Agreement will also see a benefit to the marine environment and I am delighted that my officials in DAERA will work even more closely with the Harbour to enhance the marine and terrestrial habitats on their 2,000 acre site.
“Belfast Harbour will invest in environmentally friendly and renewable technologies, develop its own energy, air and sustainable procurement strategies and encourage its staff, tenants and port clients to adopt more sustainable transport and resource usage practices.”
David Dobbin, Chairman Belfast Harbour said: “Belfast Harbour’s commitment to building a truly sustainable, clean, green Port is core to our Trust Port purpose. As we operate, maintain and improve our Port and Harbour Estate, our ambition is to achieve net zero carbon emissions from our operations by 2030, to reduce pollution, and to protect and enhance our natural environment and marine diversity.
“Work to deliver this is already well underway, as we introduce electric vehicles, develop our use of renewable energy, instigate studies to better understand our marine diversity and embed sustainable development across our 2,000 acre Harbour Estate.
“We are delighted to partner with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency as we accelerate and deliver our sustainability goals. We recognise that through coalition and partnership, together we can achieve so much more. By putting people, place and the environment at the heart of our sustainable business model, Belfast Harbour is developing a clean, green port, where people and planet thrive.”
Joanne Sherwood, RSPB NI Director, added: “There has never been a more important time to invest in the protection and restoration of nature. The pandemic has served as a reminder that our economy and the health of society are dependent on a flourishing natural world: decisions taken now will have a major impact for many years to come so we welcome this commitment from Belfast Harbour.”
The Minister concluded: “It is very fitting that we are signing this agreement at the RSPB Belfast’s Window on Wildlife. This is symbolic, and demonstrates Belfast Harbour’s commitment to placing the environment and sustainability at the centre of their business and I am pleased that my Department will be working in an even closer partnership with them.
“Many businesses are already thinking green – they are already doing the right thing and reaping the benefits. We want to work with progressive organisations like Belfast Harbour who are committed to sustainable growth while enhancing the environment.”
Children Asked to Share Ideas for Lord Mayor’s Time Capsule
Schoolchildren from across Belfast are being invited to share their ideas on what should be included in a time capsule which will be sealed by the city’s Lord Mayor, to be opened in 100 years.
The project is part of Belfast City Council’s Decade of Centenaries programme and aims to provide a snapshot of life in 2021 for generations to come.
Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey has himself chosen a number of items to include in the time capsule, including a NI women’s football shirt and a special medallion to mark the centenary of the formation of Northern Ireland.
“This year marks a hugely significant milestone in Northern Ireland’s history, marking 100 years since the first Northern Ireland Parliament was opened,” said Alderman McCoubrey.
“While this milestone will mean different things for different people, Council’s Decade of Centenaries programme aims to provide a space to reflect on key historical moments and events from 1912-1922 that shaped Northern Ireland and Ireland.
“And as we look ahead to the next 100 years and wonder what life might be like then, I thought creating a time capsule would be an interesting way of capturing a little piece of history and preserving it for generations to come, so that they might have an insight into life in the city in 2021
“I’m hoping that young people will provide some inspiration as to what should be included; all suggestions are welcome but we would like it to be something that is particularly relevant to 2021 and the times we are living through.”
As a huge supporter of the Northern Ireland football team, Alderman McCoubrey said including the women’s team’s football shirt was an easy decision.
“The achievements of the NI women’s football team in making history and reaching the Euros is something we can all be very proud of,” said Alderman McCoubrey.
“I hope that when this time capsule is opened in 2121 this achievement will be seen as having been something of a turning point for women in sport, and that it is seen to inspire more young women and girls to get involved in competitive sport.”
Belfast City Council was awarded funding from the Shared History Fund, which The National Lottery Heritage Fund is delivering on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office, to deliver a number of projects to mark Northern Ireland’s centenary year, including the Lord Mayor’s time capsule project.
Young people can send their suggestions to the Lord Mayor’s Office via email firstname.lastname@example.org or share their ideas on Council’s social media channels using the hashtag #BelfastTimeCapsule
The deadline for suggestions is 4pm on Wednesday 19 May. All suggestions received will be considered by the Lord Mayor for inclusion in the time capsule which will be stored at City Hall until it is opened in 2121.