Viewer Comments: Esophageal Cancer - Symptoms and Signs

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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Esophageal Cancer:

Esophageal Cancer - Symptoms and Signs

What were the symptoms and signs you experienced with esophageal cancer?

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Comment from: Sue B, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: September 10

My husband was diagnosed with esophageal cancer on Sept. 1, 2005. He'd been having increasing trouble swallowing and has started losing weight. He went to see the doctor who sent him to a specialist to do a scope. As soon as he had the diagnosis, he was referred to a surgeon. The surgery was Sept. 29, 2005, and they removed the tumor and part of the esophagus. That December, he started chemo and radiation treatments. He had radiation for four weeks straight and four week-long rounds of chemo (first week of radiation, last week of radiation, one month later and one month after that). His pic line was removed on the final day of chemo (April 14, 2006). He goes for CT scans every six months now (in the first year it was every three months), and sees all three of his fabulous doctors to discuss the results. Three years later, he is still cancer-free, and we are more hopeful each time that the next time will also be clear. Not to scare anyone, but based on our research of this disease and our discussions with the doctors, we believe that with surgery alone, he wouldn't have survived the first year. He just turned 50 in January (2009), and we're now making long-term plans again. He's frequently tired, can't eat much at one time, and often suffers acid reflux at night. This is our "new normal," and we are happy to live with it because we still have each other and our family and are otherwise healthy. One strange side effect of all his treatments is that his immune system seems to be stronger than before. He used to catch every cold and flu bug the kids brought home; now he's seldom sick, and it's less severe when he is sick. These are small blessings for sure but blessings just the same.

Comment from: Rosalie cat, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: March 10

My mother was having eating difficulties. First we were thinking that she had a gastric problem, but on the 26th of January we went to see a doctor. He sent us to the clinic to do a gastroscopy, where they also did a biopsy. The doctor sent her to the hospital on the 2nd of February. There she got one week of treatment and on the 9th of February she had the surgical intervention to remove the esophageal cancer. She stayed two weeks in the ICU and passed away on the 26th of February 2016.

Comment from: Dottie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 19

I was perfectly healthy not overweight had just gone to my doctor to get the results of my physical exam. He said everything was great! Then I mentioned in passing that the only small problem I was having was swallowing unless I drank a lot of fluids. He ordered some Protonix and a swallow study. I went to for an endoscopy and they took a biopsy of a tumor that was blocking the food. It was the dreaded cancer. I'm seeing an oncologist who wants to do chemo and radiation but says no surgery since It spread to my lymph nodes and am at stage 3. I am so scared and it's happening so fast. I don't have any pain but because of all treatment and thoughts of suffering through them with really no hope of long recovery, I'm at my wits end. I don't understand how this could happen so suddenly.

Comment from: Carol, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 19

My husband was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last October. He is in hospice. He started vomiting blood the last time, he was home. No one knows the feeling of someone that you love is slowly dying.

Comment from: EMMY, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: August 11

I have had acid reflux for years. I thought I had it under control, one day I was sitting at home eating some scallops and rice when all of a sudden I couldn't swallow. The food wouldn't go down and it wouldn't come back up. I ran to the sink as I was losing my air. Then all of a sudden the food comes up. I was at home by myself at the time so that scared the crap out of me. I told my wife and she made me go to my doctor where they did a test. I couldn't swallow the pill they gave me until I drank three glasses of water. We knew there was a problem so we set up and endoscope. I was put to sleep and my doctor told me he could widen my esophagus and that it was a common thing. I agreed. When I woke up in the recovery room my doctor came in to see me. He told me he could not widen my esophagus. He told me that my stomach was raw so he did do a biopsy and to me call him in a couple of days. I called a few days later. The doctor told me that the results were not good and that they wanted to do a double take. He told me that the results I received usually indicate cancer. They wanted to be very aggressive in the first 30 days. I have had 30 radiation treatments and two types chemotherapy on. I recently had an X-ray and my doctors were very happy with the results. I do have a surgery coming up later this month. I am scared, but coming on to this site makes me feel better. I told a good friend at work what is going on and he is going to get tested.

Comment from: missy 8883, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 14

I was diagnose with esophageal cancer in 2004. I only had symptoms for two and a half weeks when I went to the doctor. One day, I felt like I had food stuck in my esophagus. They did a scope and found a tumor. I had surgery and they removed my esophagus and did a stomach pull-up. The surgeon was amazed that I got into a doctor as soon as I did. I have been cancer free for more than five years. The cancer was caught soon enough and had perforated the esophageal wall, so I did not have to get any chemotherapy or radiation. My cancer was caught in stage 1. The survival rate of such a cancer is very low, I'm told. I have CT scans for more than five years before my cancer was diagnosed and everything was always fine. Listen to your body. It can save your life.

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Esophageal Cancer:

Esophageal Cancer - Diagnosis

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