Esophagus is said to be a muscular tube that is hollow and which moves liquid and food from throat into the stomach. The esophagus’s wall is normally constructed of various tissue layers including muscle, connective tissue and mucous membrane. Normally esophageal cancer begins in the esophagus’s inner lining and spreads to other layers in the outward direction when it progresses.
The esophageal cancer that affects the upper and middle part of the esophagus is called as squamous cell carcinoma but can even appear sometimes in other areas as epidermoid carcinoma and the one that affects the lower region of the esophagus (near stomach region) is called as adenocarcinoma.
Upper esophageal cancer does not produce any symptoms in the beginning stages but can be observed in their later stages like pain felt while swallowing food or drinking liquids, unintentional weight loss, burning or pressure felt in the chest region, hiccups, chronic coughing and voice hoarseness. Sometimes the symptoms caused by upper esophageal cancer can be controlled or even relieved when suitable lifestyle changes and diet changes are applied. Treatment becomes easier and effective if upper esophageal cancer symptoms are detected earlier. Other symptoms include vomiting after consuming meals where the vomit might have undigested food, vomiting blood, chest pain, excessive gas, abdominal pain and anorexia.
Acid reflux or barrett’s esophagus is also closely linked with upper esophageal cancer and their symptoms. Hence it is very important to know the symptoms of reflux esophagitis. It can include heartburn, indigestion, vomiting, sore throat, swallowing difficulty, pain in the upper abdominal region, belching, excess gas, bitter taste felt in mouth, voice becomes hoarse, chronic cough, wheezing and choking sensation.
Symptoms of esophageal spasm include sensation of some food stuck inside the throat, severe pain, sleep awakening due to pain, pain triggered due to drinking very cold or hot beverages or liquids, pain triggered due to exercise and many more.
Esophageal stricture symptoms include unable to swallow foods especially when they are solid, chest pain felt after swallowing food and so on. Symptoms of esophageal varices include vomiting material looking similar to coffee grounds, stool looking black, maroon or red, rectal bleeding and so on. Symptoms related to gastrointestinal bleeding includes rapid breathing, rapid pulse, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, pale skin, quick breathing, low blood pressure and so on.
Diagnostic tests for determining the presence of esophageal cancer includes upper gastrointestinal x-rays or barium swallow, upper endoscopy, ultrasound, bronchoscopy, positron emission tomography, laparoscopy and thorascopy and biopsy.
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