April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month
Most people with esophageal cancer are diagnosed because they have symptoms. It’s rare for people without symptoms to be diagnosed with this cancer. When it does happen, the cancer is usually found by accident because of tests done for other medical problems.
Unfortunately, most esophageal cancers do not cause symptoms until they have reached an advanced stage, when they are harder to treat.
The most common symptoms of esophageal cancer are:
- Trouble swallowing
- Chest pain
- Weight loss
- Chronic cough
- Bone pain (if cancer has spread to the bone)
- Bleeding into the esophagus. This blood then passes through the digestive tract, which may turn the stool black. Over time, this blood loss can lead to anemia which can make a person feel tired.
Having one or more symptoms does not mean you have esophageal cancer. In fact, many of these symptoms are more likely to be caused by other conditions. Still, if you have any of these symptoms, especially trouble swallowing, it’s important to have them checked by a doctor so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.
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Source: American Cancer Society