The esophagus is a long, hollow muscular tube that runs through the throat to the stomach, connecting the two together. It moves the food that or drinks that you swallow from the back of your throat down to your stomach so that they can be digested. Like all other parts of the body, the esophagus can be affected by cancer.
Cancer in the esophagus usually starts in the cells that line the esophagus and it can occur in any part. Esophageal cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. It’s more common in men than women, though women are still susceptible. Esophageal cancer occurs when the cells that line the esophagus start to develop mutations in their DNA, which causes cells to grow and divide rapidly.
The earlier esophageal cancer is diagnosed, the better the recovery rate, so it’s important to be aware of the symptoms.
1. Difficulty swallowing
One of the most common symptoms of esophageal cancer is difficulty with swallowing. You might feel pain when you swallow or you could feel as if you have food stuck in your throat or chest. You might even end up choking on your food whenever you try to swallow. The term used to describe difficulty swallowing is dysphagia.
In the beginning stages of esophageal cancer, dysphagia is usually mild, but as the condition worsens, the opening in the esophagus shrinks, making it more difficult to swallow. Certain foods can be particularly difficult to swallow, such as meat, bread, and cheese. If the condition is bad enough, you may stop eating solid food completely and instead eat only liquefied foods. If you are having a hard time swallowing your food or feel like food gets stuck in your throat, seek medical care as soon as you possibly can.