Eating less salt may reduce the risk of stomach cancer: UEG calls for greater salt-awareness across Europe.
(Vienna January, 12, 2015) Stomach cancer is diagnosed in around 80,000 people in the European Union (EU) each year and is associated with a very poor prognosis. The most well-established risk factor for stomach cancer is infection with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), which causes inflammation within the stomach that can progress to stomach cancer.Now scientists believe that eating too much salt also increases the risk of stomach cancer, with a direct relationship found between salt consumption and cancer risk. According to Professor John Atherton, UEG Secretary General and a leading H. pylori expert, the combination of H. pylori infection and a high salt intake appears to be especially dangerous. “Although we don’t know exactly why salt increases the risk of stomach cancer, studies suggest that it may encourage the growth of H. pylori and make it more toxic to the cells of the stomach,” he says. Stomach cancer in the EU The recent Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe reported that more than 80,000 new cases of stomach cancer were identified in the EU in 2012, with twice as many men as women affected. H. pylori infection, which typically occurs during childhood and is difficult to detect, has been estimated to be responsible for around three-quarters of all stomach cancers. Excessive salt consumption is thought to contribute to a quarter of all cases. “Most of us know that salt is associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke,” says Prof. Atherton. “However, I suspect very few people are aware that a high-salt diet may also increase the risk of stomach cancer.” Salt consumption guidelines The European Commission and many individual European countries have taken positive action towards reducing salt consumption across the continent. Current guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggest that no more than 5 g of salt (less than 1 teaspoon) should be eaten per day – a challenging target given that most salt in our diets is not added by us, but comes from processed foods such as bread, cheese, breakfast cereals and ready meals. “In the UK, our salt target for adults is no more than 6 g per day, which should theoretically reduce the risk of stomach cancer as well as other salt-related health problems,” says Prof. Atherton. “Although we need more studies to confirm that eating a low-salt diet reduces the incidence of stomach cancer, there is preliminary evidence from Japan to suggest this would be the case.” It is straightforward to reduce salt in your diet: take special care when shopping to, buy low-salt versions of your favourite foods; moderate your intake of some foods such as cured meat, bread, cheese and table sauces; and to add no salt during cooking or at the table. This will reduce your risk of a variety of diseases, particularly heart disease and stroke and it now looks as though it will also reduce your risk of developing stomach cancer. References: 1. WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer. http://eu-cancer.iarc.fr/. 2. D’Elia L, Rossi G, Ippolito R, et al. Clin Nutr 2012;31(4):489–98. 3. Roberts SE, Samuel DG, Williams JG, et al. Survey of Digestive Health across Europe. Part one: The burden of gastrointestinal diseases and the organisation and delivery of gastroenterology services across Europe. Report for United European Gastroenterology. August 2014. 4. Parkin DM. Br J Cancer 2011;105:S31–S33. 5. Tominaga S, Kuroishi T. Int J Cancer 1997;10(Suppl):2–6. 6. World Action on Salt & Health. Salt and stomach cancer. Available at: http://www.worldactiononsalt.com/salthealth/factsheets/stomach/index.html. Last accessed 5 January 2015. Notes to Editors About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. Find out more about UEG’s work, visit www.ueg.eu Available for interview UEG Spokesperson, Professor John Atherton is the UEG Secretary General and also a leading H. pylori expert at The University of Nottingham. Press contact Samantha Forster firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099 @UEGMedia
Study: 1 in 10 Inflammatory Bowel Disease patients are misdiagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
(Vienna December, 15, 2014) A new study, published in the latest issue of the UEG Journal reveals that 10% of IBD patients are misdiagnosed with IBS and in 3% of cases the misdiagnosis can persist for five or more years. The case-controlled study, conducted in the UK, assessed the proportion of patients with IBS recorded prior to the IBD diagnosis to reveal the alarming statistics.Leading IBD researcher and United European Gastroenterology (UEG) spokesperson Dr Michael Scharl says, “IBS has been estimated to affect at least 10% of the population in Europe and it causes distressing symptoms that disrupt normal life.” He explains, “We have known for some time that there are similarities between symptoms of IBS and IBD, but when it comes to diagnosis and treatment, this differs greatly.” He adds, “Misdiagnosis is understandable as many symptoms such as diarrhoea, abdominal cramping and pain are common to both and the specific alarm symptoms for IBD such as bloody stool, weight loss or fever are often absent in IBD patients in the initial phase of their disease. However, increased use of faecal calprotectin testing would help doctors distinguish between inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and non-inflammatory bowel diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome.” IBS has been estimated to affect at least 10 of the population in Europe. The initial misdiagnosis of IBD has serious consequences for patients, in particular those with Crohn's disease, since delays in diagnosis is correlated with an increased risk of bowel stenosis and CD-related intestinal surgery. Considering that the misdiagnosis of IBD might have severe consequences for a patient’s life, UEG are calling for increased efforts to be undertaken to screen symptomatic IBS patients for IBD. Screening tests for intestinal inflammation should be included in the work up of all new patients presenting with diarrhoea and pain. References: 1. Timothy R Card, Jesse Siffledeen and Kate M Fleming. Are IBD patients more likely to have a prior diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome? Report of a case-control study in the General Practice Research Database. 2: 505-512, UEG Journal December 2014. Available at: http://ueg.sagepub.com/content/2/6/505.full Notes to Editors About UEG UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge. Find out more about UEG’s work. Visit www.ueg.eu Available for interview UEG Spokesperson, Dr Michael Scharl is an expert in both IBS and IBD and has recently been awarded a ‘UEG Rising Star’ award for his research which opens avenues for completely new treatment strategies for IBD and Crohn’s disease. Press contact Samantha Forster email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)1444 811099 @UEGMedia
UEG puts the need for better care for IBD patients in Europe on the political agenda.
(Vienna, December, 02, 2014) With inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) thought to cost the European Community over €2 billion in annual healthcare costs, United European Gastroenterology (UEG) is calling for EU politicians and leading decision-makers to take a more active role in reducing the burden of the disease.Presenting the results of a major ‘Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe’, to the European Parliament in Brussels today, UEG aim to draw attention to the impact IBD and other digestive and liver diseases have on the health and economy of the European community. The ‘Survey of Digestive Health across Europe’ highlights major differences in the incidence of gastrointestinal disorders and long-term health outcomes amongst European communities. Amongst IBD sufferers, incidence of Crohn’s disease was found to be highest in northern and western regions of Europe whilst ulcerative colitis had the highest incidence in Ireland, Denmark and Finland and the highest incidence of IBD overall is in France. According to UEG President, Professor Michael Farthing, “IBD has an increasingly crippling impact both to society and to individuals, particularly, the huge proportion of young people who suffer. UEG aim to raise awareness amongst the European Parliament of the debilitating symptoms and resulting impact on quality of life and performance.” As many as 30% of all IBD patients presenting with symptoms are between the ages of 10 and 19 and nearly a fifth of under 18 year olds have to wait more than 5 years to receive a final diagnosis. Symptoms of IBD include faecal incontinence, abdominal cramping and extreme fatigue often resulting in depression and low self-esteem. The ‘Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe’ reveals that 21% of IBD sufferers across Europe felt they had been discriminated against in the workplace with 44% reported to have lost or had to leave their job. “The cost of IBD care has increased significantly over the past decade and it is vital that additional funding is made available to help reduce the health and societal burden of the disease through ensuring a quicker diagnosis and equitable access to the best treatment for all patients across Europe” adds Professor Farthing. Notes to Editors: About UEG United European Gastroenterology is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. Find out more about UEG’s work at www.ueg.eu UEG Events at European Parliament, Brussels – December 2nd, 2014 Digestive Health Survey and Healthcare in Europe 2040: Scenarios and Implications for Digestive and Liver Diseases presentations Host/Chairs: MEP Pavel Poc and Professor Michael Farthing (UEG President) “Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A rising threat to the health of young Europeans” Debate Host/Chairs: MEPs Rebecca Harms/Michele Rivasi and Professor Theirry Ponchon (Chair, UEG Public Affairs Committee) Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe The Survey of Digestive Health Across Europe was commissioned by UEG in the spring of 2013 at the request of its own Future Trends Committee. An experienced research group from Swansea University in Wales, UK, initiated a detailed assessment of digestive health across Europe, focussing on the clinical and economic burden of disease and the organisation and delivery of gastroenterology services across 28 European Union (EU) member states, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Russia. The aim of the survey was to draw together all the available evidence and provide up-to-date information on the human health consequences and public health burden of GI disorders. Available for interview Professor Michael Farthing, UEG President Press contact Samantha Forster firstname.lastname@example.org Tel:+44(0)1444811099 @UEGMedia References 1. Roberts SE, Samuel DG, Williams JG, et al. Survey of Digestive Health across Europe. Part one: The burden of gastrointestinal diseases and the organisation and delivery of gastroenterology services across Europe. Report for United European Gastroenterology. October 2014. 2. Anderson P, Dalziel K, Davies E et al. Survey of Digestive Health across Europe. Part two: The economic impact and burden of gastrointestinal diseases across Europe. Report for United European Gastroenterology. October 2014. 3. Problems in the diagnosis of IBD in children. H.A Buller. Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam – The Netherlands Journal of Medicine. 4. EFCCA Impact of IBD Study 2010-2011. Published J Crohns and Colitis. 2014 March 21 5. The Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Young People - The impact on education and employment report - downloadable from the www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk
Experts call for greater awareness of alcohol related liver disease and liver cancer.
(November, 24, 2014) United European Gastroenterology (UEG) is supporting the second annual Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm (AWARH) and calls for greater awareness of the relationship between alcohol and liver cancer. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to liver cancer, estimated to be responsible for 746,000 worldwide deaths each year, making it the second most common cause of cancer death.Europe is by far the biggest drinking region in the world. According to a new pan-European Survey of Digestive Health commissioned by UEG, hospital admissions for alcoholic liver disease which is a key precursor to liver cancer have increased by more than 120% since 1995 in England, Scotland, Wales and Finland. These countries also have the highest incidence of alcohol related liver disease in east and north eastern European countries. Alcohol also has a significant socio-economic impact, costing more than €155 billion annually and posing a real threat to the European healthcare system. As a result, UEG considers alcohol and its relationship with GI diseases an urgent research priority.UEG spokesperson and European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL) member, Professor Patrizia Burra explains, “There is a need to develop specific therapies for the treatment of patients with alcoholic liver disease, especially as it is the second leading risk factor for disease burden in Europe. “Excessive alcohol consumption amongst young people is also a growing concern and cost-effective prevention programmes must be implemented and novel treatments developed to enable us to tackle liver disease and reduce deaths from liver cancer across Europe,” adds Prof. Burra. Follow UEG’s tips on how to drink safely and reduce the risk of developing liver disease and cancer:
- Have 2-3 alcohol-free days a week to allow the liver time to repair itself.
- Men: Drink no more than 3-4 alcoholic drinks on any day (equivalent to 852ml of beer/250ml of wine) and a maximum of 21 drinks in any week.
- Women: Drink no more than 2-3 alcoholic drinks on any day (equivalent to 568ml beer/175ml of wine) and a maximum of 14 drinks in any week.
- Be symptom smart and seek medical advice if you experience pain in the lower right hand side of your ribs, general nausea and lack of energy.
- Protect yourself from blood-borne viruses Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infections which can lead to liver cancer.
Professor Patrizia Burra, Head Multivisceral Transplant Unit, Gastroenterology Department of Surgery, Oncology and Gastroenterology, Padova University Hospital and member of The European Association for the Study of the Liver (EASL). Press contact Samantha Forster email@example.com Tel: +44(0)1444 811099 @UEGMedia References: 1. The International Agency for Research on Cancer. GLOBOCAN 2012: estimated cancer incidence, mortality and prevalence worldwide in 2012. Lyon, France: IARC; 2013 Dec Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr/
2. United European Gastroenterology, 2014, Survey of Digestive Health across Europe http://ueg.sagepub.com/site/White_Book/White_Book.xhtml
3. WHO-Europe, 2012, Alcohol in the European Union – consumption, harm and policy approaches, http://ec.europa.eu/health/alcohol/docs/who_alcoholintheeu_2012_en.pdf