Tanner Health System MyChart

  • Home
  • Esophageal Cancer: Symptoms, Screening and Prevention

Esophageal Cancer: Symptoms, Screening and Prevention

We see firsthand how esophageal cancer affects patients and their families.
This type of cancer begins in the esophagus — the long, hollow tube that runs from your throat to your stomach. Although less common than other forms of cancer, esophageal cancer is particularly dangerous because it's often not diagnosed until at an advanced stage.
Here, we'll discuss the symptoms, screening methods and ways to prevent esophageal cancer. 

Symptoms of esophageal cancer

Esophageal cancer doesn't usually cause noticeable symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage.

However, if you experience any of the following, it's important to consult with your healthcare provider:

  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Chest pain, pressure or burning
  • Worsening indigestion or heartburn
  • Coughing or hoarseness

Screening for esophageal cancer

Screenings are tests that look for diseases before you have symptoms. While there's no routine screening test for esophageal cancer, certain people are at higher risk and may need regular screenings.

These include:

Screening tests might include upper endoscopy, where a thin tube with a camera is inserted down your throat to examine your esophagus, or a biopsy, where a small sample of tissue is removed for examination under a microscope.

How to prevent esophageal cancer

Prevention is always better than cure, and there are several lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk of developing esophageal cancer:

  • Quit Smoking: The harmful chemicals in tobacco can damage cells in the esophagus, leading to cancer.
  • Limit Alcohol Consumption: Heavy drinking also increases your risk. If you do drink, do so in moderation.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity is linked with esophageal cancer, particularly in men. Strive for a balanced diet and regular exercise.
  • Eat Fruits and Vegetables: Incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables into your diet. They're high in antioxidants and fiber that can protect against cancer.
  • Manage Acid Reflux: If you have chronic heartburn or GERD, work with your doctor to manage symptoms and prevent damage to your esophagus.

Remember, early detection is crucial in the fight against esophageal cancer. If you have any concerns about your health, reach out to your healthcare provider.

Together, we can take proactive steps towards prevention and early detection.

Cancer Care, Gastroenterology Care

Comments have been disabled for this post.