Cancer Symptoms

Esophageal Cancer Symptoms

What are the symptoms of esophageal cancer?

Early detection of cancer of the esophagus is very difficult. The symptoms of eshophageal cancer are very subtle and may go unnoticed until the cancer is advanced. Early esophageal cancer may not cause any symptoms. As the cancer progresses, it usually causes one or more of the following symptoms:

  • The most common symptom of esophageal cancer is difficulty swallowing. Swallowing problems may occur occasionally at first, and patients often react by eating more slowly and chewing their food more carefully and, as the tumor grows, switching to soft foods or a liquid diet. Without treatment, the tumor will eventually prevent even liquid from passing into the stomach. This is usually a progressive problem which begins initially when large pieces of poorly chewed food are swallowed, but can worsen to the point that thin liquids won't go down easily.

    Patients with early esophageal cancer may be hoarse and have hiccups or elevated calcium levels, but symptoms characteristic of the disease generally don't appear until the tumor has grown so large that the patient cannot be cured.

  • Esophageal cancer may also cause weight loss, regurgitation of undigested food, and bleeding manifested by vomiting blood or passing old blood with bowel movements.
  • There may be pressure, burning, and a feeling of food being stuck. These early symptoms may occur so irregularly that they are attributed to something else.

These symptoms may be caused by esophageal cancer or by other conditions. It is important to check with a doctor.

esophageal cancer symptoms : esophagus

Summary of esophageal cancer symptoms :

  • Difficult or painful swallowing or difficulty swallowing only solid foods (called dysphagia or odynophagia).
  • Inability to swallow solid foods (eventually liquids also).
  • Food sticking in esophagus
  • Pain in the throat or back, behind the breastbone or between the shoulder blades.
  • Pain in the chest or between the shoulder blades.
  • Vomiting blood or passing old blood with bowel movements. Coughing up blood.
  • Regurgitation of undigested food.
  • Weight loss.
  • Frequent heartburn or acid reflux.
  • Hoarseness or chronic cough, hiccups, pneumonia, and high levels of calcium in the blood.

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