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Esophageal Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Esophageal cancer is a cancer of the cells lining the esophagus.  The esophagus is the long tube that runs from the throat to the stomach. Esophageal cancer can occur anywhere along the esophagus, but in the United States, it commonly occurs in the lower portion. Esophageal cancer is rare in the United States, and much more common in Africa and Asia. We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of esophageal cancer below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Signs and Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer are as follows:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Painful swallowing
  • Feeling like the food is stuck in the throat or chest
  • Particular difficulty swallowing bread or meat
  • Avoidance of solid food
  • Reliance on soft foods or liquids
  • Regurgitation of food
  • Pain or discomfort in the middle of the chest
  • Pressure or burning in the chest
  • Hoarse-sounding cough
  • Weight loss
  • Hiccups
  • Vomiting up blood

Most people do not have significant signs and symptoms of esophageal cancer until they are in the later stages of the disease.  This is because the signs and symptoms of esophageal cancer tend to manifest only once a fairly large tumor obstructs the esophagus. Early stages of esophageal cancer typically cause no signs and symptoms.

Risk factors for signs and symptoms of esophageal cancer include smoking, chewing tobacco, heavy alcohol use, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD),drinking very hot liquids, obesity, and exposure to radiation in the upper chest area.



Diagnosis of Esophageal Cancer

A diagnosis of esophageal cancer is made through imaging tests such as a barium swallow or an endoscopy. Other tests may include a CT scan and an MRI.  The most definitive diagnosis of esophageal cancer is made through a biopsy of tissue taken from the lining of the esophagus through an endoscopy or bronchoscopy.


Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal Cancer – A Medical Dictionary, Bibliography, and Annotated Research Guide to Internet References
ICON Health Publications
100 Questions & Answers About Esophageal Cancer
Pamela K. Ginex


Esophageal Cancer: Principles and Practice
Blair A. Jobe
100 Questions & Answers About Esophageal Cancer, 2nd Edition
Pamela K. Ginex RN MPH OCN


Esophageal Cancer Resources

General Patient Resources

  • National Cancer Institute

Information about esophageal cancer treatment, prevention, screening, clinical trials, research, statistics and other topics from the National Cancer Institute.

http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/esophageal/

  • MD Anderson Cancer Center

Read about esophageal cancer, preventative measures and its diagnosis. Learn how you can receive specialized treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

http://www.mdanderson.org/patient-and-cancer-information/cancer-information/cancer-types/esophageal-cancer/index.html

  • About . com

What is esophageal cancer? Learn more about the causes, symptoms, treatment and prevention of esophageal cancer in this in-depth overview.

http://cancer.about.com/od/esophagealcancer/a/esophageal_over.htm

  • Cancer Compass

Being diagnosed with esophageal cancer can be an overwhelming situation, but our online forum offers helpful information and resources for cancer patients. Join our supportive community today to research treatment options, compare notes and more.

http://www.cancercompass.com/message-board/cancers/esophageal-cancer/1,0,119,19.htm

  • Med Help

MedHelp’s Esophageal Cancer Help Forum. This forum is for help, questions and support regarding Esophageal Cancer.

http://www.medhelp.org/forums/Esophageal-Cancer/show/660



Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, treatment of cancer of the esophagus.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/esophageal-cancer/DS00500

  • Pub Med Health

Reviews causes, risk factors, incidence, symptoms, treatment, prognosis and complications.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001328/

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US National Library of Medicine.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/esophagealcancer.html

  • Web MD

Get the facts about esophageal cancer, including causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments.

http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/esophageal-cancer