Identify the early stage of esophageal cancer
Early stage of esophageal cancer is often difficult to detect because of unclear signs. Patients often confuse cancer with some other diseases. So how to detect cancer? Let's take a look at the signs and symptoms of early stage esophageal cancer.
What is the role of the esophagus?
Esophagus is an important part of the digestive system. It is located at the beginning of the gastrointestinal tract, with a length of 8 to 12 inch. The esophagus’s function is transporting food down the stomach and preventing food from going backwards.
Esophageal cancer is a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in the tissues of the esophagus. The wall of the esophagus is made up of several layers of tissue, including mucous membrane, muscle, and connective tissue. Esophageal cancer starts on the inside lining of the esophagus and spreads outward through the other layers as it grows. According to National Cancer Institute’s statistics, tumors can form anywhere in the esophagus, but usually occur in its lower part.
Symptoms of esophageal cancer’s early stage
Patients with esophageal cancer often have difficulty swallowing when eating, because developing cancer cells interfere with food going through the esophagus. This is often mild when it starts, and then gets worse over time as the opening inside the esophagus gets smaller.
When swallowing becomes harder, people often change their eating habit. They start eating soft foods, take smaller bites and chew more slowly so the food can pass through the esophagus more easily.
As the cancer cells grow larger, the problem can get worse. Foods can get stuck in their esophagus. If this happens frequently, you should see a doctor right away, because this may be because the tumors have grown very largely. This is one of the most recognizable signals of esophageal cancer.
For patients with early stage of esophageal cancer, this symptom occurs infrequently. When they are working hard or playing high intensity sports, they have pain or discomfort in the middle part of their chest.
Chest pain will occur more frequently as the disease progresses. These symptoms are more often caused by other problems, such as heartburn, so they are rarely seen as a signal that a person might have cancer.
Weight loss and fatigue
Most cancer patients often see these symptoms. They usually have poor appetite, fatigue, body weakness and effortless weight loss. This happens because their swallowing problems keep them from eating enough to maintain their weight.
When you notice these symptoms, see your doctor immediately for advice and prompt treatment. Having one or more of the symptoms above does not mean you have esophageal cancer. In fact, many other problems can cause these symptoms. However, if you have any of these, especially trouble swallowing, you should see a doctor soon to protect your health.
By: James Paquin