#DemandingHope – Heartburn Cancer demand more action on ‘killer hiding in plain sight’

Heartburn Cancer UK

Oesophageal cancer is the UK’s 14th most common cancer but the 4th biggest cancer killer in men. Early diagnosis is key.

Heartburn or acid reflux is often the only symptom and often ignored or masked by pharmacy or supermarket treatments, even when it’s persistent. To mark its 20th anniversary, Heartburn Cancer UK - a small charity focussed on raising awareness and promoting earlier diagnosis of oesophageal cancer - decided to aim big.

It ran a campaign demanding bigger, better, quicker hope - in the name of people who’ve died of the disease, those currently surviving it, and those who don’t even know they need the hope yet. #DemandingHope culminated in a nationwide ‘Cancer Killer Hiding in Plain Sight’ media story, demanding more widespread use of a simple diagnostic test, “We have the test. We know it works. But people are dying while we wait” and a focussed London campaign with a free-testing programme for hospitality workers and taxi drivers, who, due to jobs and demographics, could be prone to heartburn.

The campaign had a 4.15million+ online readership (470m audience). The programme was 250% oversubscribed and picked up twice as many pre-cancers as usual - providing a template for future studies.