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Esophageal Cancer: Symptoms

Man with pained expression loosening his tie

What are the symptoms of esophageal cancer?

Esophageal cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms in its early stages. When this cancer does cause symptoms, they’re often like those you might have with other health issues, such as indigestion.

Early symptoms of esophageal cancer can include the following:

  • Trouble swallowing. Swallowing dry solid foods, such as meat, bread, or raw vegetables may be especially hard.

  • Pressure or burning in your chest after swallowing

  • A feeling that food is stuck in your throat

  • Weight loss

  • Heartburn

  • Indigestion

  • Frequent choking

As esophageal cancer gets worse, symptoms can become more severe. You may have the following:

  • Trouble swallowing liquids

  • Trouble swallowing saliva

  • Hoarseness

  • Coughing

  • Vomiting

When to see your healthcare provider

Many of these symptoms can be caused by other health problems. But it’s important to see your healthcare provider if you have these symptoms. Only a healthcare provider can tell if you have esophageal cancer.

Online Medical Reviewer: Gersten, Todd, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Stump-Sutliff, Kim, RN, MSN, AOCNS
Last Review Date: 5/1/2016
© 2013 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.