The esophagus is a muscular tube that transfers food and liquids from the throat (pharynx) to the stomach. The esophagus is essential for the human body to properly function, as it’s a crucial part of your digestive system and your digestive tract.
That being said, it’s important to look out for signs of esophageal cancer, which can damage your esophagus due to a build-up of cancerous cells in the area. In order to do so, keep an eye out for the following signs and symptoms…
1. Difficulty Swallowing
One of the earliest signs of esophageal cancer is difficulty swallowing. With this symptom, a patient may feel as if food is stuck in their throat. This is because as cancer cells grow, your esophagus narrows, making it difficult and sometimes painful to swallow.
As a result of this symptom, you may experience chest pain…
2. Chronic Chest Pain
When it becomes hard to swallow, it’s likely that chest pain will follow. This is because the food or liquid has a difficult time getting past a tumor, causing an uncomfortable feeling as a result. If you have frequent or severe chest pain, seek medical help immediately, as this can be a sign of a serious underlying illness.
When it hurts both your throat and chest to swallow, it’s not uncommon for cancer patients to lose their appetites…
3. Loss of Appetite
A majority of esophageal cancer patients experience a loss of appetite. This can be due to swallowing problems, or even a decreased appetite from the intense treatment that patients go through. Plus, the added stress, anxiety, and depression that patients may experience could also contribute to a loss of appetite.
A loss of appetite usually leads to unintentional weight loss…
4. Unintentional Weight Loss
As mentioned in previous slides, esophageal cancer patients can lose their appetite because of how painful and difficult it is to swallow, as well as due to side effects from treatment and stress. As a result of these symptoms, patients can experience unintentional weight loss because of how little they are eating.
This next symptom is a less common sign of esophageal cancer…
5. Chronic Cough
Only about 20% of people experience a consistent couch with esophageal cancer. This cough is typically dry and may worsen after eating due to the complications caused by swallowing. While this symptom is rare, it’s important to see your doctor if the coughing persists or worsens.
More often than not, a chronic cough can have negative effects on your voice…
When you suffer from a chronic cough, it’s not uncommon for a hoarse voice to follow. This is often the case for esophageal cancer patients who suffer from a persistent cough, which also contributes to painful and difficult swallowing.
If you’ve noticed that your voice has gone hoarse recently, this doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to have esophageal cancer. But, if your voice has been hoarse for more than three weeks, you should see your doctor.
The next symptom only occurs if cancer has spread elsewhere in the body…
7. Joint Pain
Cancer takes a serious toll on your body, which can often result in bone and joint pain. This symptom is usually not very common with esophageal cancer patients, but it can be a sign that cancer has spread.
That being said, it’s important to take this as a serious sign. If the pain is long-lasting and unbearable, be sure to call your doctor to seek a possible diagnosis and treatment.