Esophageal cancer affects the esophagus, a long hollow tube that is present from the throat to the stomach. The esophagus helps move the food from the back of the throat to the stomach and helps start the digestive process. Cancer develops inside the lining of the esophagus and can spread anywhere along the tube, compromising the function of the esophagus. This type of cancer is usually seen in men than in women.
Signs and symptoms
The signs and symptoms of this type of cancer are usually well observed and identified. They make it easy for cancer to be diagnosed at an early stage. However, in some cases, the symptoms are missed, and the cancer is only accidentally found during health checkups and tests. So, it is always advised to stay mindful of the body’s signs to stay on top of health. Here are some of those signs to look out for:
- Trouble swallowing
This can happen not just with solids but with liquids as well. There can be some inflammation which can lead to pain and swallowing problems.
- Chest pain
Inflammation can cause chest pain which originates from the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach.
- Increase in BMI
This can be unexpected and without any effort. It is important to be vigilant about a healthy body mass; sudden gain or loss can give rise to some health concerns.
This can easily be identified and often, at times, leads to permanent damage to the vocal cord. Getting immediate attention to this and starting treatment as necessary is important.
- Chronic cough
A persistent cough also leads to chest and throat pain due to the constant energy utilized in the contraction of muscles. This symptom may overlap with some other illnesses and may go unnoticed. Therefore, it is important to get it checked by a doctor to rule out any signs of the condition.
This can be due to any inflammation developed in the esophagus or chronic coughing, which pushes the food out of the hollow tube. If one experiences frequent vomiting, it is best advised to see a doctor immediately.
- Bone pain
If this is experienced, due to no other obvious reasons, it is possible that cancer has spread to the other parts of the body, including the bones, which is causing pain.
- Bleeding in the esophagus
This bleeding can pass through the digestive tract into the stool, leading to a blackish stool color. This blood loss can also lead to anemia if not treated in time.
It is possible that these symptoms may be due to some other illnesses. Still, it is always advised to keep a thorough check on these and understand that these need immediate attention from a healthcare professional who can diagnose and start treatment immediately.
Various treatment types include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, stem cell or bone marrow transplant, or even hormone therapy. Depending on the diagnosis and the condition of the patient, the doctor can suggest one or more types of treatments to manage the disease or treat it completely. Also, some clinical trials are available that may help in case traditional treatments fail to work as successfully as imagined.