What is the first sign of esophageal cancer? Early stage esophageal cancer may go unnoticed, therefore, undiagnosed. The most common types of esophageal cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma, which develop in the cells lining the wall of the esophagus.
So what is the first sign of esophageal cancer? The first sign of esophageal cancer is difficulty swallowing solid foods, which often develops as the growing cancer narrows the esophagus. After a few weeks, it may even be difficult to swallow soft foods.
What is the First Sign of Esophageal Cancer?
The most common symptom of esophageal cancer is difficulty swallowing. The sensation of snagging and painful swallowing is among the initial symptoms of esophageal cancer.
For some patients, no symptoms are felt even when the tumor covers more than half of the esophagus. Since the symptoms of esophageal cancer often occur late, in many patients, the tumor is detected in advanced stages. In the elderly, drooling on the pillow at night and pain when swallowing may be the first symptoms of esophageal cancer. Additional symptoms may include:
- Severe Gastric Reflux
What Causes Esophageal Cancer?
Most of the causes of esophageal cancer are preventable factors. Very rarely are other diseases or genetic factors a cause. The causes of esophageal cancer vary depending on the cell type. Causes of squamous cell esophageal cancer include:
- Consumption of extremely hot beverages
- Burnt-smoked food consumption
- Alcohol and smoking
Esophageal adenocarcinoma cancers are usually caused by reflux. Barrett’s esophagus can also be caused by prolonged reflux, alcohol consumption and smoking. Barrett’s esophagus is a common cause for esophageal cancer.
Esophageal Cancer Diagnosis
The diagnosis of esophageal cancer is made with an endoscopic procedure. During an endoscopy, the doctor will pass a flexible tube equipped with a video lens down the throat into the esophagus. Using an endoscope, the doctor examines the esophagus by looking for areas of cancer or irritation.
A doctor may also use a special scope that goes down the throat into the esophagus to take a sample of suspicious tissue. The tissue sample is sent to the lab to find cancer cells. After confirming esophageal cancer, additional tests are recommended to determine if the cancer has spread to lymph nodes and other parts of the body.