Esophageal cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer due to its position in the human anatomy. It arises from the food pipe that runs between the throat and the gastric cavity.
There are two sub-types of esophageal cancer which are:
- Squamous-cell carcinoma of the esophagus (ESCC)
- Adenocarcinoma of the esophagus (This is more common in first world countries).
Signs and symptoms of esophageal cancer
Early Signs of esophageal cancer
The signs shown are determined by the stage of development of the cancer. Here are the following signs you may notice if you already have the cancer, however some of these signs may not necessarily mean you have the cancer, but they are tell-tale signs you may be affected:
1) Difficulty in swallowing. This is very common when ingesting solid foods, with time, you may not be able to swallow liquids without twitching your neck while doing so.
2) Pain behind breast bone or in the stomach region, it may present as heart burn. When it becomes frequent and persistent it is time to see your doctor for evaluation.
3) Vomiting and regurgitation of food.
4) Very hoarse-sounding voice, raspy cough, due to the fact that your recurrent laryngeal nerve may be affected by the cancer cells.
5) Oral bleeding as a result of esophageal fistulas. This may actually lead to internal bleeding, and aspiration due to foods entering the airways.
You may also experience these symptoms of esophageal cancer in advanced stage. In the advanced stage of esophageal cancer development, the airways might be narrowed due to tumor formation. These symptoms of esophageal cancer show forth as the disease progresses:
6) Weight loss, loss of appetite and under-nutrition is inevitable due to the constriction of the esophageal wall which makes ingestion of foods very painful.
7) Aspiration pneumonia may develop from the foods and fluids that are entering the airways due to esophageal fistula.
8) In advanced stage, the cancer may spread to neighboring organs and tissues such as the liver, lungs and the pericardium which may also trigger another complication. In the case of metastasis to the liver, jaundice may result. So also, the upper airway may be obstructed due to the spread of the cells to the lungs, which may also cause breathing impairment and accumulation of fluids around the lungs a condition known as pleural effusion.
The following symptoms listed below are esophageal cancer symptoms which are very common with other infections such as pneumonia and bacterial sore throat infections:
9) Difficulty in swallowing, and choking on food.
Because of these symptom, patients may have to be fed through the pipes or intravenously to avoid regurgitation and irritation to the wind pipes.
10) Difficulty in breathing, fatigue, chest pain, and painful ulcer on the esophageal lining.
Your chances of improvement and survival rate is very high if you discover it early. So also, try to avoid all the risk factors mentioned above, it helps to improve faster. Eating a lot of foods rich in vegetables and fiber, fruits and reducing or stop consuming alcohol completely helps a lot too. Avoiding processed and canned foods.
Processed foods has been linked to the severity of cancer today. A lot of carcinogenic formations has been linked to consumption of foods such processed meats, canned foods. Esophageal cancer symptoms may become complicated when it’s left untreated or when these signs and symptoms are showing up but you didn’t take proper evaluation or treatment when due.