Early-stage esophageal cancer often has no warning signs. Food can pass through the esophagus even when it is severely blocked. Because of this, esophageal cancer is often diagnosed after the disease has begun to spread. Diagnosis usually occurs when someone notices symptoms.
Symptoms can include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Unexplained weight loss
- Hoarseness or coughing
- Persistent hiccups
Many of these symptoms are also associated with other medical conditions, so having any of them does not necessarily mean that you have esophageal cancer. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor. Treatment can be more effective when esophageal cancer is detected early.
In addition to paying attention to esophageal cancer symptoms, there is much people can do to lower risk factors for the disease and prevent it from occurring.
Learn more about esophageal cancer prevention and risk factors.