Esophageal Cancer Symptoms and Signs

Painful or difficult in swallowing is one of the main esophageal symptoms.

Esophageal cancer is the cancerous growth in the esophagus which is the tube connecting the throat and the stomach.

The cancerous growth is the growth of malignant cells resulting from the abnormal cell division and multiplication. The esophageal cancer affects the tissues of the esophagus.

The disease is a silent killer as it shows no symptoms during its early stages. The esophageal cancer in most of the cases is diagnosed in advanced stage as no symptoms are revealed in the initial stage.

One of the most common esophageal cancer symptoms, which usually occur late in the disease, is difficulty swallowing and a sensation of food sticking in the throat or chest.

Nowadays the survival rates have improved to a certain extent. All the possible risk factors for developing the disease are taken care of through some preventive measures to lower the chances of developing the disease. The complications which possibly lead to the disease are given much importance to reduce the risk.

A good life style and a proper diet can help to a large extent to fight the disease and not allow it to happen.

The two most common forms of this disease are named after the type of cells that become malignant (cancerous). For example the squamous cell carcinoma is named so as it affects the squamous cells and the adenocarcinoma as it affects the glandular cells.

Squamous cell carcinoma: This type of esophageal cancer occurs most commonly in the upper and the middle part of the esophagus however this may occur in any part or through out any region in the esophagus.

This is the most common in black Americans and the most prevalent esophageal cancer worldwide. Squamous cells are the thin, flat cells lining the esophagus. This is also called epidermoid carcinoma.

Adenocarcinoma: This usually forms in the lower part of the esophagus, near the stomach. Unlike the squamous cell carcinoma the adenocarcinoma is more common in white than in black Americans.
According to studies this is the fastest increasing cancer in the United States. Glandular cells in the lining of the esophagus produce and release fluids such as mucus.

Esophageal Cancer Symptoms or Signs of Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer symptoms or signs of esophageal cancer in the early stages of the disease are very unusual and very rare therefore the disease is left unpredicted. The esophageal cancer symptoms either don’t appear in initial stage or they are noticed when the disease reaches its advanced stage. Some of esophageal cancer symptoms include:

  • Painful or difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia). This is only predicted or felt unless the tumor grows so big covering almost half the passage of the esophagus thus making it very difficult for swallowing.
  • Severe, unintentional weight loss
  • Pain in throat
  • Pain behind the breastbone.
  • Discomfort or burning behind breastbone.
  • Hoarseness, a chronic cough and sometimes coughing of blood. These esophageal cancer symptoms usually don’t appear until cancer is in its advanced stage.
  • Indigestion and heartburn may also be felt and form the esophageal cancer symptoms.

One should keep in mind that these and other symptoms may be caused by esophageal cancer or by any other conditions which are less serious than esophageal cancer. Therefore it is suggested that a doctor should be consulted without neglecting as they may be the possible esophageal cancer symptoms as well.