IT is a condition often associated with older people, and one which arguably receives less publicity than other forms of cancer.
But a grandmother has warned oesophageal cancer affects people of all ages, after her daughter died from the illness this year.
Mother-of-two Mandy Hubbard was only 45 when she died in February, after experiencing symptoms of the illness for the first time a year earlier.
Her mother, Margaret Fielder, of Durrington, said it was less well known compared with other forms of cancer, but one which few people survived from.
Margaret, 66, said: “You hear a lot about different forms of cancer, but many of them are fairly treatable if they’re caught early.
“Oesophageal cancer is different.
“It is a really nasty form of cancer and you don’t have much chances of getting away from it, or even lasting five years.”
Mandy was diagnosed with the illness after she thought she had swallowed a piece of meat, which had become trapped, and complained to doctors of struggling to swallow.
After doctors initially said there was nothing wrong with her, Mandy was recommended for an endoscopy but was unable to tolerate a tube going down her throat because of the pain caused by the tumour.
Chemotherapy treatment followed Mandy’s diagnosis later that year, but after it initially shrank the cancer, the tumour grew back larger.
Doctors said it was not possible to surgically remove the tumour, and after a struggle with the illness, Mandy died in St Barnabas House hospice, in Titnore Lane.
Margaret, whose husband Roger Fielder died from lung cancer 14 years ago, added: “The family is still devastated. It’s been a great shock to us all.
“It’s known as an older person’s disease and for people who drink and smoke, but that wasn’t the case with Mandy.
“It can hit anybody at any age. It’s been a trauma for the family.”
Since Mandy died, her cousin Garry Griffiths, of Durrington, who is also 45, has raised funds for St Barnabas.
He wrote to his favourite football team, Sheffield Wednesday, which donated a shirt signed by all the players and home game tickets, which Garry auctioned together on eBay for £82.
He and Margaret have also supported the charity by donating money directly and by buying things from its charity shop, in Rowlands Road.
Speaking about St Barnabas, Garry said: “Unless you know someone who’s dying, or in need of respite, you wouldn’t come into contact with St Barnabas, but they do a brilliant job.
“People coming there are in the worst kind of place they could be in mentally and physically, but they make it as nice for them as possible.
“The building makes it seem like quite a nice hotel, rather than somewhere you go to die.
“It really does bring it home to you when someone you’ve grown up with goes through something like that. She had two young children she’s not going to see grow up. It’s terrible.”