A CAMPAIGN has been launched urging people to think twice if they use antacids regularly to control persistent heartburn.

Heartburn Cancer UK have put adverts on the side of buses in Basingstoke as well as on platforms at the station to raise awareness of the link between heartburn and oesophageal cancer.

Whilst for the majority of people heartburn is nothing more than it seems, it can be the only early-warning symptom of the cancer, which kills someone in Hampshire every day.

Their chairman and founder, Mimi McCord, says that the campaign is aiming to: “Raise awareness of the link between heartburn, Barrett’s oesophagus, which is a pre-cancerous condition, and oesophageal cancer.

“Early diagnosis is absolutely key to ensuring that oesophageal cancer is curable.”

Mimi’s husband Michael died from the condition when he was 47-years-old.

“He had suffered from heartburn throughout his adult life, he popped antacids like smarties,” Mimi told the Gazette.

However, one morning he struggled to swallow a piece of toast which led to him visiting his doctor, who sent him for an endoscopy.

“He went down to be scoped, came back up again followed by the consultant who said ‘it’s cancer’.

“He died nine weeks later, by the time he was diagnosed, it was at its advanced stage, he was terminally ill.

“The cancer had spread to his liver and lungs, spine and brain, and he died.”

However, according to Mimi, Michael’s death was “completely and utterly preventable” with more awareness of the link and earlier tests.

“So many of us suffer from heartburn and for the majority, it is just heartburn and not anything more,” Mimi continued.

“But unless you have an endoscopy you don’t know that there is nothing there.”

Mimi is urging everyone who has been suffering from persistent heartburn for three weeks or more to go to their GP and request further investigation.

Also at the launch of the new campaign was Maria Miller, Basingstoke MP and patron of Heartburn Cancer UK.

She said: “I was delighted (to become a patron) because it’s an important cancer to raise wareness of.

“It’s important that people are aware that if people take action early, it’s entirely treatable.

“This campaign is long overdue.”