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Esophageal Cancer Symptoms

Stomach cancer in medical terms known as esophageal cancer. Its subtype arises from the cells that line the upper part of the esophagus. This subtype is called primarily squamous cell cancer. The other is adenocarcinoma which arises from glandular cells present at the junction of the stomach and the esophagus. Esophageal cancer symptoms start with difficulty in swallowing, esophageal tumors and pain. Small tumors are removed and sent for biopsy, if the tumors are large, then with the help of radio therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of both their growth is further delayed and then it is operated upon.

Oesophageal cancer alerts

Odynophagi or painful swallowing and dysphagia or difficulties in swallowing are the 2 common esophageal cancer symptoms. The later is the first symptom in most patients but the former may also be present. The person finds it difficult to swallow hard substances such as meat or bread, but soft food and fluids are difficult to swallow, the appetite reduces which results in loss of weight and due to poor nutrition the cancer becomes active. A daily feeling of heart burn or strong acidity is experienced, sometimes there is pain behind the sternum in the epigastriun, and other signs may be a hoarse husky or raspy cough. This is due to the tumor affecting the laryngeal nerve.

It is better to identify the esophageal cancer symptoms early as the tumor leads to a disruption in the organized swallowing reflexes which results in coughing, regurgitation of food, vomiting and nausea and increases the risk of aspiration pneumonia. The person may also start vomiting blood, when the disease advances; there is breathing problem due to upper air way obstruction and superior vena carve syndrome. There are chances of fistulas developing between the trachea and the esophagus. This also results in high fever, cough or aspiration that increases the risk of pneumonia.

Risk factors

Esophageal cancer symptoms are not so easy to be recognized at an early stage, most of the people who suffer from esophageal cancer are diagnosed in the late stage of the disease. By the time half of the lumen is obstructed if the tumor is very large. If the disease spreads to the other part of the body it may lead to symptoms that relates to pleural effusions, lung metastasis, liver metastasis etc. This disease usually affects people over 60 years, normally the males and found to be hereditary. People who smoke and drink are at prime risk.

If a person has chronic irritation of the mucosal lining, then adenocarcinoma is more common in this condition. If there is a corrosive injury to esophagus by swallowing strong alkaline of acids, usually dietary substances such as nitrosamine can also be considered as a risk factor. People who have a medical history of other head and neck cancer are also at a risk of developing esophageal cancer. At times people drink hot beverages in a hurry that results in thermal injury; this may also lead to threaded disease. Obesity is also a risk factor. It is advised that even the slightest of esophageal cancer symptoms should not be ignored.