Esophageal cancer

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Symptoms of esophageal cancer

Esophageal cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages because of the way it grows. Symptoms often appear once the cancer thickens the wall of the esophagus. Esophageal tumours can also cause symptoms if they grow large enough to block the esophagus or the opening to the stomach, or if they grow into surrounding tissues and organs. Other health conditions can cause the same symptoms as esophageal cancer. See your doctor if you have these symptoms.

The most common symptom of esophageal cancer is difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia. Other symptoms of esophageal cancer include:

  • weight loss
  • painful swallowing (called odynophagia)
  • pain in the throat, chest (behind the breast bone, or sternum) or back
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • fatigue
  • malaisemalaiseA general feeling of discomfort or illness.
  • loss of appetite
  • bringing up undigested food (called regurgitation)
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • hoarseness
  • cough
  • hiccups

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Great progress has been made

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Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.

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