The first warning sign of esophageal cancer may be dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, according to experts at the Moffitt Cancer Center.
When dysphagia occurs, it feels like food is stuck in the throat. Some people feel they cannot swallow certain foods or drinks, while others cannot swallow anything.
The experts at the center describe the condition as follows: “Dysphagia, which is usually mild at first, gets worse as the tumor grows, making the lumen of the esophagus narrower. This prevents food from moving down the esophagus and can even cause a choking attack or inability to swallow anything.
You may find that you change your eating habits at some point, such as eating smaller meals, choosing softer foods, or avoiding hard foods altogether.
Over time, difficulty swallowing can provoke other health problems, such as weight loss and frequent lower respiratory tract infections.
Although dysphagia can be a sign of esophageal cancer, it is still more often a symptom of much less dangerous conditions such as heartburn, experts remind us.
Also, oncologists at the Moffitt Center advised not to overlook discomfort that occurs after eating fatty foods or drinking alcohol – it may indicate pancreatic pathology.
“When a tumor develops in the pancreas, many patients complain of pain that worsens at night in the supine position and after eating too much fatty food and alcohol,” the doctors warned.