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What are the symptoms of esophageal cancer?

Early esophageal cancer may not cause symptoms. As the cancer grows, the most common symptoms are:
  • Food gets stuck in the esophagus, and food may come back up
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Pain in the chest or back
  • Weight loss
  • Heartburn
  • A hoarse voice or cough that doesn't go away within 2 weeks

These symptoms may be caused by esophageal cancer or other health problems. If you have any of these symptoms, you should tell your doctor so that problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. If cancer develops in the esophagus, a number of things may develop. These include pain in the area (especially when swallowing), difficulty swallowing food, loss of body weight, heartburn, changes in voice, or a cough that lasts longer than 14 days. Symptoms of esophageal cancer may not be obvious during early stages of the disease.

The most common signs of esophageal cancer are pain or difficulty when swallowing, a painful or sore throat, and weight loss. Hoarseness or cough, indigestion and heartburn may also be present. Some individuals may also experience pain behind the breastbone.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.