Cancer is a scary word. It tends to elicit fear and stress in people, and it’s perfectly understandable. For many people, any time a mystery symptom or illness pops up their instant assumption is that it must be cancer. While no one should jump to conclusions and should instead go to the doctor for a proper diagnosis, being aware of what symptoms to watch for can ensure you react promptly.
Here’s a look at five symptoms that can be common with esophageal cancer, which can help to prompt you to make an appointment.
You Start to Have Trouble Swallowing
One of the first issues to set off warning bells for people is often a problem swallowing. When eating it may feel as though the food is getting stuck in your throat or further down in your chest. If this problem progresses a person may get to the point where swallowing makes them choke.
Dysphagia is the proper name given to swallowing problems and it may require you to start preparing your food differently. You may need to switch to a liquid diet, pureeing your food so it’s not lumpy, and making it safe and easy to eat.
For swallowing problems, people often require a thickening product just like the SimplyThick thickener that you add to the pureed liquid to slightly thicken it back up. This is a way of achieving the correct thickness without chunks and grittiness.
You Lose Weight without Trying
Another red flag can be sudden weight loss when you’re not actively trying to lose weight. This may be associated with trouble swallowing, as you may not be eating as much as you normally would. That alone can cause your weight to drop. Also, some people may experience a loss in appetite, thereby cutting back on calories. The weight loss can be drastic and sudden, or a little less obvious.
You Start to Experience Pain in Your Chest
This particular symptom is a tricky one because chest pain can be indicative of several different issues. But if this one accompanies other symptoms, then it’s important to follow up with your doctor. Typically, the pain will occur in the middle section of your chest and can be where you feel that food is “getting stuck”.
You Notice a New Hoarseness in Your Voice
Has your voice suddenly changed? Do you sound hoarse, yet you aren’t sick so there’s no explanation for it? Again, this can be a sign of esophageal cancer and it is worth investigating further.
A New Chronic Cough
Another common symptom to be on the lookout for is a new and chronic cough that you can’t seem to get rid of. Again, it will not have accompanied any sort of illness; it will just appear on its own. It can be very stubborn and quite uncomfortable.
As with any cancer, early detection is imperative and will help to improve the prognosis drastically. This is why it’s important to stay on top of your health, watch for any potential red flags and follow up with your doctor promptly.