April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month

Mar 10, 2011, 12:16 ET from Esophageal Cancer Action Network

BALTIMORE, March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Esophageal Cancer is the fastest increasing cancer diagnosis in the U.S. – up more than 400 percent in the past 20 years – and it usually a death sentence. Perhaps most shocking, for Americans, it is usually caused by persistent heartburn or acid reflux disease. In the U.S., someone dies of this disease every 36 minutes.

Until two years ago, there was no national advocacy organization fighting Esophageal Cancer. But the Esophageal Cancer Action Network (ECAN, ) led by top physicians, business leaders and families the cancer has touched, is tackling this devastating disease head on. ECAN is working to make sure those with persistent heartburn become aware of their risk of developing a disease that kills more than 80 percent of those who develop it.

Esophageal Cancer has such a poor survival rate largely because it is usually discovered at late stages. That's why ECAN's early detection message is so important. With early detection, new medical procedures have produced cure rates of 98 percent.

ECAN's Executive Director Mindy Mintz Mordecai is emphatic about the importance of screening for Esophageal Cancer. "These new developments in treating the precancerous and early stages of the disease make early detection of this cancer so important because, if we find it early, people can now be cured – they don't just get a better chance of survival – they can be cured!"

ECAN has launched an aggressive, nationwide public awareness campaign, including an effort for the first-ever designation of National Esophageal Cancer Awareness month in April. As part of its Awareness Month campaign, ECAN will provide EC Awareness Month kits to physicians, patients and advocates who want to increase understanding about the link between Heartburn and Cancer. The kits contain posters, informational brochures and periwinkle blue wristbands bearing ECAN's life - saving message: Heartburn can cause Cancer. Find out more at www.ecan.org.

ECAN will kick off Esophageal Cancer Awareness month with two fun filled events on Sunday, April 3, 2011. The Cancer Dancer at Towson University in suburban Baltimore will include an appearance by Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson. The Harsh Golf Scramble in suburban Orlando, Florida is a tribute to Floridian Paul Harshbarger, an avid golfer who lost his battle with Esophageal Cancer in 2008.

ECAN was founded by former television reporter and attorney Mindy Mintz Mordecai after her husband's death from Esophageal Cancer in 2008. What began as an annual dance event conceived by the Mordecais' 12-year-old daughter grew to a national movement that fills a huge void no other organization had filled.

SOURCE Esophageal Cancer Action Network