Esophageal – Gastric Oncosurgeon in Bangalore
Usually people with esophageal cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. But remember that not all patients with esophageal cancer have these changes. Also, you need to remember that just because you have the following symptom, it does not mean that that it has to be cancer. It could be some other medical condition so getting yourself assessed will help.
- Difficulty and pain with swallowing, particularly when eating meat, bread, or raw vegetables. As the tumour grows, it can block the pathway to the stomach. Even liquid may be painful to swallow.
- Pressure or burning in the chest
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Frequent choking on food
- Unexplained weight loss
- Coughing or hoarseness
- Pain in the throat or chest
If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please consult your doctor. Your doctor will assess how long and how often you have been having the symptom. The details revealed during this stage will help in further diagnosis and tests.
The doctor will then advise the ways your symptoms could be relieved soon after the diagnosis and continued throughout treatment. Be sure to talk with your doctor about the symptoms you experience, including side-effects you may have after the initial treatment.
What is a risk factor?
A risk factor is something that increases a person’s chances of developing cancer. Remember that risk factors can influence the development of cancer but most do not directly cause cancer. We have seen cases wherein people with several risk factors have never developed cancer. But some with no risk factors do have developed cancer. Then what is the use of knowing risk factors? If you are aware of your risk factors and discuss them with your doctor, it will help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.
Few factors that may raise a person’s risk of developing Esophageal cancer include:
- Your Age. People over 70 years may be at higher risk of Esophageal cancer.
- Gender. Men are found to be more likely than women to develop Esophageal cancer.
- Race. Esophageal cancer is the 6th most common cause of deaths in India
- Tobacco. Using any form of tobacco, such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, increases the risk of Esophageal cancer
- Heavy drinking over a long period of time increases the risk of carcinoma of the esophagus.
- Barrett’s esophagus. Develops in some people who have chronic Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) or inflammation of the esophagus. Damage to the lining of the esophagus causes the squamous cells in the lining of the esophagus.
- Diet/nutrition. A diet that is low in fruits and vegetables and certain vitamins and minerals can increase the risk
- Obesity. Being severely overweight and having too much body fat can increase a person’s risk of developing cancer
- Lye. People who have accidentally swallowed some cleaning products that contain Lye have an increased risk of Esophageal cancer.
- Achalasia. Achalasia is a condition when the muscular ring at the bottom of the esophagus does not relax during swallowing of food. This condition is known to increase the risk of Esophageal cancer.
- Human papillomavirus (HPV). Scientists have been studying the link between HPV and Esophageal cancer. There is evidence that HPV may increase the risk but it is not yet proved. As with other virus, there are different strains of HPV and some of them are shown to cause Esophageal cancer. But fortunately there are vaccines available to protect us from HPV strains.
Hence it’s important to discuss with your doctor which options are best for you. Being aware and getting diagnosed at an early stage will help ensure your treatment is effective.