Any disease is more likely to have better outcome if the problem is diagnosed in early stages. This rule can also be applied to cancerous changes in the body, including esophageal cancer. Noticing first symptoms and reporting it to your doctor is extremely important, so that you can receive proper diagnosis and treatment, avoiding unnecessary complications.
You have to watch your body and notice problems as they arise. Consulting your doctor about potential problems may lead to early diagnosis and good prognosis of esophageal cancer.
First Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer
In some cases, patients are not able to tell that anything is wrong with their body. This happens because esophageal cancer is known not to cause any problem or sign in early stages of development in most patients. Other patients experience swallowing problems and feeling as if the food has stuck in their throat for some time after eating.
Sudden, unwanted and unexplained loss of appetite and weight loss may also suggest that the person has esophageal cancer and this sign is also very common. Some people may experience pressure and pain in the throat or in the chest, all because of the growth of esophageal cancer. If the tumor affects the movement of food from the esophagus to the stomach, the patient may feel discomfort and pain while eating something, but this is more likely to happen in advanced stages when the tumor becomes fairly big.
Barrett’s esophagus is one of the conditions known to lead to formation of esophageal cancer. Doctors usually refer to this condition as the precancerous problem, since these patients are at increased risk of developing esophageal cancer. Acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) patients whose stomach acid has damaged the esophagus over time are found to be very likely to suffer from Barrett’s esophagus. Some 30% of these patients is seen to develop esophageal cancer and this is why this problem is considered to be one of the first signs of cancerous changes in the esophagus.
Treatment for Esophageal Cancer
After proper diagnosis patients suffering from esophageal cancer are usually advised to undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, to treat the problem. Surgical procedures are able to remove the cancer together with some portions of the esophagus or remove some other tissues, if the cancer has spread further. Chemotherapy can be used before or after surgery and some patients may also benefit form added radiation therapy as well.