Signs and symptoms of esophageal cancer include:
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Weight loss without trying
- Chest pain, pressure or burning
- Worsening indigestion or heartburn
- Coughing or hoarseness
Early esophageal cancer typically causes no signs or symptoms.
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any persistent signs and symptoms that worry you.
If you've been diagnosed with Barrett's esophagus, a precancerous condition that increases your risk of esophageal cancer caused by chronic acid reflux, ask your doctor what signs and symptoms to watch for that may signal that your condition is worsening.
Screening for esophageal cancer isn't done routinely because of a lack of an easily identifiable high-risk group and the possible risks associated with endoscopy. If you have Barrett's esophagus, discuss the pros and cons of screening with your doctor.
May 15, 2014
- Esophageal and esophagogastric junction cancers. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Feb. 14, 2014.
- Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 14, 2014.
- Cameron JL, et al., eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 14, 2014.
- What you need to know about cancer of the esophagus. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/esophagus. Accessed Feb. 14, 2014.
- Adult cancer pain. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Feb. 14, 2014.
- Golden AK. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dec. 5, 2013.
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