Diagnosing Esophageal Cancer, Signs and Symptoms

By Partha Nandi, MD FACP

(ASK DR. NANDI) – Let’s discuss a lethal disease, esophageal cancer. When diagnosed, most patients die within the first year of diagnosis with a 16% 5-year survival rate.
One in 197 Americans will be diagnosed with esophageal cancer in their lifetime!
Let’s find out what we can do to prevent this deadly disease. There are two main types of esophageal cancer.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common esophageal cancer in the world and adenocarcinoma is the most common esophageal cancer in the US.

Squamous cell carcinoma is associated with smoking and alcohol use. Adenocarcinoma is associated with GERD and a precancerous condition called Barrett’s esophagitis.
Other risk factors include a family history of esophageal cancer, obesity and increased age.
The most common symptom with esophageal cancer is trouble swallowing or painful swallowing. Also stomach pain, nausea and regurgitation can be seen.
Often, the patient has weight loss and loss of appetite.

By the time folks have symptoms, the cancer is at an advanced stage. So how do we diagnose esophageal cancer. Most patients are diagnosed with an upper endoscopy with biopsy of the cancer when they have symptoms.

A CT scan can help to find if the disease has spread outside the esophagus. A PET scan can also be used to stage esophageal cancer.

Partha’s Prescriptions:

  • Prevention is critical in this disease. Please, please stop smoking, and drink only in moderation.
  • Be proactive. If you have symptoms of GERD or reflux, more than 3 times per week, please see your doctor right away.
  • Switch to a diet high in fruits and vegetables. This has been shown to reduce the risk of esophageal cancer.
  • Obesity has been linked to esophageal cancer. Maintain a healthy weight and have exercise regularly. Let’s fight this deadly disease.

Remember- make healthy living part of every day.

~The Light in Me Honors the Light in You. – Dr. Nandi.

Learn More About Dr. Partha Nandi – askdrnandi.com

1 Comment

  1. Zak HinesJuly 21, 2015

    Knowledge and Prevention is half the battle when it comes to cancer. Really liked this article. Easy to read and understand. It gave great tips and made me more aware about this truly horrible disease. Too often, we lose good people to diseases like this because the major symptoms don’t show until it’s too late. Awareness is key

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