In many cases, esophageal cancer is diagnosed after a person begins to notice symptoms. However, early-stage cancer often has no warning signs. Some of the most common symptoms of esophageal cancer include:
- difficulty swallowing (as the tumor grows, the esophagus narrows)
- chest pain or discomfort, such as pressure or a burning sensation
- weight loss and lack of appetite (often related to difficulty swallowing)
- a persistent cough
- bone pain
- bleeding in the esophagus
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.