Q&A with Golfer Padraig Harrington, patron of the Oesophageal Cancer Fund
Cancer "I lost my father to oesophageal cancer in 2005, and I began working with OCF so that people could be more aware of oesophageal cancer symptoms."
Why are you supporting Oesophageal Cancer Fund (OCF) Ireland?
"I have been working with Oesophageal Cancer Fund (OCF) for 12 years. I lost my father to oesophageal cancer in 2005, and I began working with OCF so that people could be more aware of oesophageal cancer symptoms, such as swallowing difficulties or chronic heartburn. I know through my work with OCF how this cancer can be prevented and the symptoms to be aware of for an early diagnosis, the key to improving cure rates."
On a personal level, how have you been affected by cancer?
"My own father passed away from oesophageal cancer so the OCF has a particular resonance for me. The work they are doing in terms of awareness is crucial but also the fact that they are funding clinical trials for new innovative therapies and using the Barrett’s Oesophagus Registry in preventative work is truly inspiring."
How important is screening/testing when it comes to cancer?
"It is incredibly important. Part of what OCF does is to fund the first national Barrett's Oesophagus Registry and Biobank - a registry of patients in Ireland at risk of oesophageal cancer. 5000 patients are registered to date - 68 per cent male. With the first camera assessment of the oesophagus, 18 per cent were identified with the disease at high risk of progressing to cancer. In a follow up 20 per cent of initially low-risk patients progressed to high-risk disease. Since the inception of the Registry over 300 patients with high-risk premalignant disease or early cancers have been treated. Through this work the OCF may truly be both saving lives and improving the quality of life for many."