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Top 7 Esophageal Cancer Symptoms


Updated May 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

There are many signs and symptoms of esophageal cancer. If you experience any of the symptoms of esophageal cancer, consult your doctor. Unfortunately, the disease is often diagnosed when the disease has advanced, limiting treatment options.

1. Unintentional Weight Loss

Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer
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If you aren't trying to lose weight and have noticed you have been or are losing weight, you should consult your doctor. Unintentional weightloss can mean many things, but it is better to have it checked out.

2. Pain and/or Difficulty Swallowing

Pain or difficulty in swallowing is one of the most common symptoms of esophageal cancer. The throat feels irritated or with pressure. This symptom is not associated with flu or flu related illnesses. The pain or difficulty swallowing related with esophageal cancer does not go away.

3. Hoarseness

If your voice is hoarse, or you feel like you have to often clear your throat, you should get checked out by a doctor. This symptom of esophageal cancer is also that of many other illnesses, so a consult is necessary.

4. Persistant Cough

Having a cough that does not go away is a symptom of esophageal cancer.

5. Heartburn

Having heartburn often is also a symptom of esophageal cancer. Heartburn is defined as pain or burning sensation behind the breast bone. Heart burn that occurs often or increasingly warrants a consult to the doctor.

6. Feeling Like Food is Stuck in Throat or Chest

In certain cases of esophageal cancer, the esophagus narrows, thus reducing the amount of space foods have to travel down to the stomach. The sensation of food being stuck in the throat or chest is that of esophageal cancer.

7. Hiccups with Pain or Difficulty Swallowing

If you often have the hiccups and also have pain or difficulty swallowing, you need to see a doctor. These two condition when experienced together are a symptom of esophageal cancer.

Created: 04/10/06
Source: National Cancer Institute: Esophageal Cancer PDQ
American Cancer Society: Esophagel Cancer, Detailed Guide
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