Understanding the Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer
Esophageal cancer develops when cancer cells form in the esophagus, a tube-like portion that connects your throat and stomach. The esophagus transports food from the mouth to the stomach. Unfortunately, esophageal cancer is rarely diagnosed unless a patient exhibits symptoms. If a physician suspects an esophageal tumor based on symptoms or other criteria, he or she may conduct diagnostic testing such as an endoscope, endoscopic ultrasonography, imaging tests, biopsy, or lab tests. Here we’ve discussed some of these esophageal cancer symptoms in brief so that you or your loved ones get aware of the same.
Symptoms of esophageal cancer that you should look for?
Typically, the first indication of esophageal cancer is trouble swallowing, which can feel like food is lodged in the throat and lead to choking. Although this sensation is frequently modest at first, it normally worsens as the tumor grows and may eventually lead to an inability to swallow the liquid.
Other typical symptoms of esophageal cancer include:
- Dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, often worsens with time: Some people who have difficulties swallowing modify their food intake to avoid discomfort. You may eat less, take smaller bites, or switch to liquid foods if swallowing is unpleasant. Cancer may also result in metabolic abnormalities or a loss of appetite.
- Chest pain or discomfort: A tumor can create pressure or a burning sensation in the chest. The chest pain associated with cancer is frequently chronic, meaning it does not go away. When swallowing food or liquid, sharp, transient aches may occur. Doctors employ tests to evaluate whether chest pain is caused by cancer or something else.
- Indigestion with heartburn: Heartburn is another term for chest pain. An esophageal tumor can cause pain in the upper abdomen.
- Voice Hoarseness: An esophageal tumor may press against the vocal cords, altering your voice. In some circumstances, the vocal cord nerves entirely stop working as a result of a disorder known as laryngeal nerve palsy.
- Chronic cough: An esophageal tumor may produce excessive mucus or blood, resulting in a chronic cough. In very rare circumstances, the tumor may join the esophagus to the trachea (the tube that takes air to the lungs). A tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) is an irregular airway that can cause coughing.
- Bleeding in the esophagus: A tumor can produce bleeding in the throat that travels to the stomach. Because of the blood, the stool may turn black. Heavy bleeding can result in anemia, or low red blood cell levels, as well as exhaustion from blood loss.
Also, Read - Esophageal Cancer Staging
When should you see a doctor?
Apart from the above-mentioned symptoms, you should consult your doctor, if-
- You have persistent swallowing problems.
- For three weeks or more, you’ve had heartburn on most days.
- Any other long-lasting symptoms.
The symptoms could be caused by a variety of ailments, and in many cases, they aren't caused by cancer, but it's still a good idea to have them checked out.
If your doctor believes you should have some tests, he or she can refer you to a hospital specialist.
Also, Read - Nasopharyngeal Cancer Symptoms
Risk factors associated with esophageal cancer:
As suggested by our experts, factors that promote inflammation in your esophageal cells and raise your risk of esophageal cancer include:
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) (GERD)
- Having precancerous abnormalities in the esophageal cells (Barrett's esophagus)
- Being overweight
- Alcohol consumption
- Experiencing biliary reflux
- Having difficulties swallowing due to a non-relaxing esophageal sphincter (achalasia)
- Having a consistent practice of consuming extremely hot beverages
- Consuming insufficient fruits and vegetables
- Receiving radiation therapy to the chest or upper abdomen
How can we help with the treatment?
If you need to undergo cancer treatment in India, we will serve as your guide throughout your treatment and will be physically present with you even before your treatment begins. The following will be provided to you:
- Opinions of expert physicians and surgeons
- Transparent communication
- Coordinated care
- Prior appointment with specialists
- Assistance with hospital formalities
- 24*7 availability
- Arrangements for travel
- Assistance for accommodation and healthy recovery
- Assistance in emergencies
We are dedicated to offering the highest quality health trip and care to our patients. We have a team of highly qualified and devoted health professionals that will be by your side from the beginning of your journey.