Esophageal Cancer: Symptoms and Treatment

Tumor of the esophagus

Tumor in the esophagus
Tumor in the esophagus | Source

What is esophageal cancer?

Esophageal cancer, (also spelled: oesophageal), is a rapid growth of unhealthy cells that affect the lining of the esophagus. Depending on how quickly it is discovered will determine at what depth the cancer has infiltrated the layers of lining, or metastasized to surrounding lymph nodes and organs of the body. Often a tumor grows from the lining and blocks the esophagus, causing discomfort and inability to swallow.

There are two main types of esophageal cancer: squamous cell carcinoma and adrenocarcinoma.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

A squamous cell is a flat, thin cell that lines the surface of the esophagus. It is the most prevalent of the two cancers, worldwide. It is heavily linked to smoking and alcohol, as its main sources of irritants. Squamous cell tumors usually grow in the middle of the esophagus.

Adrenocarcinoma

The adrenocarcinoma affects the lower area of the esophagus, and is the more common form in the United States. It predominantly affects older Caucasian males. The cancer begins in the cells of mucus secreting glands in the esophagus.

The mortality rate is not high for those who receive a diagnosis of esophageal cancer. About 40% survive for one year; 13% survive for five years; and only 1-10 survive for ten years or more. (Statistic is based on data from 2008.)



Worldwide statistics:

Worldwide, the countries with the highest rate of cases are Southern and Eastern Africa, and Eastern Asia. The countries with the lowest number of cases include Western and Middle Africa, and Central America.

In the United States, over 13, 000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

In the United Kingdom, there were 23 cases daily discovered with esophageal cancer in 2008.

Other countries with high rates of esophageal cancer include: parts of China, Japan, Thailand, Belgium, Iceland, Iran, and India.

Indigestion, GERD, and Barrett's esophagus can be early warning signs.
Indigestion, GERD, and Barrett's esophagus can be early warning signs. | Source

What is the esophagus?

The esophagus is the long, muscular tube that moves food from the mouth and into the stomach. It begins at the mouth and includes the throat, the esophagus, the sphincter at the lower end, into the entry of the stomach.

What are the risk factors for esophageal cancer?

You are at higher risk for developing esophageal cancer if you are:

1. Male

2. Smoke

3. Drink alcohol frequently

4. Are obese

5. Do not regularly include fruits and vegetables in your diet

6. Have GERD

7. Have Barrett's esophagus

8. Have Achalacia-a medical condition where the lower sphinctor leading into the stomach cannot relax enough to allow food to enter from the esophagus.

9. Have Tylosis-a hereditary medical condition in which the palms and soles have an excess of skin. Frequent screening should be done early on if diagnosed with this.

10. Are over 50 years old.

11. Frequently eat foods preserved in lye, such as lutefisk.

12. Frequently drink hot liquids, beverages or soups, that may irritate the esophagus.


Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer

Worldwide, our lives have been thwarted with various stressors. In the developed countries of the world there is an ongoing fight for financial success, career pressures, balancing home and family, and trying to fit more into a 24 hour day.

In undeveloped countries, the stressors are different-poverty, war, malnutrition, and a lack of available medical intervention can result in poor health.

Anyone who watches television knows that the solution for heartburn is what the advertisers want us to believe: take a Tums or two; drop a couple of Alka Seltzers into a glass of water for fizzy relief; or take the little purple pill, Prilosec, to reduce acid secretions and neutralize existing stomach acid.

But, we need to be aware that if there is ongoing indigestion caused by a reflux of acid moving out of the stomach and past the sphincter that usually prevents a back wash of food and fluid back into the esophagus, taking over-the-counter medication to relieve the symptoms may not be the solution.

In fact, indigestion that increases in occurrences and intensity is one of the early warning signs of esophageal cancer. It is an indicator that the lining of the esophagus is being irritated consistently, and that is not healthy.


Other signs of esophageal cancer:

1. A diagnosis of GERD, (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

2. Barrett's esophagus disease-medical professional's consider this may be a precancerous condition.

3. Difficulty swallowing food.

4. Pain in the chest or back-some feel a pressure and think they are having a heart attack.

5. Weight loss, not from diet or exercise.

6. Frequent nausea or vomiting.

7. Vomiting blood.

8. Fatigue

9. Cough that does not go away or increases in intensity.

10. Change in vocal sounds-hoarseness, or gruffness to voice.

11. Frequent choking while eating.

If you, or anyone you know, has any or several of these symptoms, please see a physician immediately for an examination.

Tests that help diagnose esophageal cancer:

Here are several common tests that may help to clearly identify the pathology within the esophagus:

Barium swallow, or esophagography. This is a medical imaging procedure that checks the gastrointestinal tract. During the procedure, the patient will swallow a Barium contrast, (usually Barium Sulfate), which then coats the esophagus and stomach. Since the Barium shows up on the X-rays as opaque, any distortion will be noted on the images that are taken. Several different angles of images are taken for a complete picture. These images will be reviewed for any pathologies.

Biopsy may be taken from the tissue to examine the cells for normalcy.

EGD, or Esophagogastroduodenoscopy may be done to examine the digestive tract and take a biopsy. This is done as an outpatient procedure and usually only a topical anesthesia is used, although it is sometimes coupled with a sedative to calm anxious patients.

CT Scan-a CT scan stands for computed tomography. It is a noninvasive process that takes cross sectional images of parts of the body; in this case the thoracic region to examine the esophagus. This test helps to determine the stage the cancer is in.

PET Scan-a PET scan stands for Positron Emission Tomography and is a nuclear medical imaging procedure in which a three dimensional image of a particular body part is taken. This test also helps to pinpoint the stage the cancer is in.

Endoscopic Ultrasound, (EUS), combines the procedure of an ultasound with the tool of an endoscope. By combining the two the physician gets a much clearer image to examine, that is well defined.



Diagnostic Tests Explained:

Surgical removal of a tumor is one method of treatment.
Surgical removal of a tumor is one method of treatment. | Source

Treatment for esophageal cancer:

Depending on the findings that were assessed by your physician, you may have one of several types of treatment, or a combination. The types of treatment include:

1. Chemotherapy: drug treatment; chemicals that kill off the cancer cells.

2. Radiation: high powered energy beams that are directed at the area affected by cancer, to kill the unhealthy cells. This can be either internal, or external.

3. Surgery-an operation that will remove the tumor, or affected areas in the body. Usually advanced stages, which have metastasized to the lymph nodes or other organs of the body, will prevent the use of surgery as a measure of treatment.

Guided imagery and relaxation, or meditation is helpful.
Guided imagery and relaxation, or meditation is helpful. | Source

What is Palliative Care?

Often what happens in cases of esophageal cancer is that the early symptoms are ignored until the pain, weight loss, or inability to swallow cannot be ignored any longer. By this time, the cancer is usually in an advance stage of III or IV. In these cases surgery is usually not an option, especially if it has metastasized, (spread), to the liver. In situations such as these palliative care may be the only option. What is 'palliative care'? Palliative care are methods of care to make the patient as comfortable as possible.

Some of the ways to increase comfort of patients are:

1. Placing a stent in the obstructed esophagus to enable the patient to eat and drink. As time goes on, the patient becomes less interested in food, and the appetite reflex shuts down. But, although patients lose interest in food and eating, patients continue to need hydration.

2. Usually a feeding tube is used as a means of active treatment, such as offering liquid nutrients. However, there are situations in which a feeding tube is placed for the sole purpose of maintaining a pain free transition. In these cases the tube is utilized as a means of administering crushed pain medications and fluids.

3. Smaller, frequent meals of nutritious shakes or smoothies are ideal.

4. The use of pain medications is helpful to keep the patient comfortable.

5. Alternative therapies, such as massage, relaxation techniques, and guided imagery can be very useful for a patient to feel relaxed and decrease any fear or anxiety.

6. As a means of a support system, keeping a connection with family and friends is very important. The patient will be facing many emotions, including fear, anger, and sorrow. Finding a strong listening ear, or therapist, is beneficial.

My personal experience:

I have had first hand experience both professionally, and personally, with caring for someone with esophageal cancer. My husband died of esophageal cancer only 12 weeks after being diagnosed with the disease. Although it was a surreal experience at the time, and took many months to recover from the suddenness of the disease, there were many early signs that he ignored throughout our marriage.

In addition to that, he was obese, smoked, and drank. He had a genetic component for cancer within the family, and he was a Caucasian male. He fit many of the risk factors.

For those interested in reading my personal account of the journey spent with him in his last weeks of life, you can read about it by following this link: http://denisehandlon.hubpages.com/hub/A-Journey-to-Meet-Death

Or, you can order the book: The Disenfranchised: Stories of Life and Grief when an ex-spouse dies edited by Peggy Sapphire, and published by Baywood Publishing. As one of the contributing authors of this unique collection of stories, I can attest that it is more than reading about what someone's life was following their spouse's death. There is a commentary following each contribution that adds to the value of this anthology.

Please take this poll:

Have you ever known anyone with esophageal cancer?

  • Yes, personally
  • Yes, through acquaintances
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Comments 65 comments

girishpuri profile image

girishpuri 3 years ago from NCR , INDIA

Very important and useful share, particularly today on world cancer day, shall help many, God bless.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Boy, do you have a quick eye-you must be watching that news feed! :)

Thank you for reading, girishpuri, and for sharing that it is world cancer day-I did not know that. Have a blessed week.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 3 years ago from Shelton

thank you so much for this share all cancers are so bad.. and hubs like these make us aware of how terrible they really are thank you Denise


CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 3 years ago

Thank you for the excellent, informative and well researched hub. There are some cancers which do not have a good recovery rate and this article will perhaps help someone get a prompt diagnosis and have a better chance of survival. I am sorry you lost your husband to this cancer, I know the swiftness with which some types of cancer can take a life leaves one reeling in disbelief. Useful, interesting and voted up.


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 3 years ago from North-East UK

Denise, very useful and comprehensive look at this type of cancer. My hubby's uncle died from it a few years ago, though he was diagnosed quite a few years before he finally passed.


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 3 years ago from USA

This is a good informative article. Many in this country have GERD and are at risk. Not many take it seriously though.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 3 years ago from Illinois

Great info here, I especially thought the inclusion of the video was very helpful in explaining tests and treatment. Voted up, useful and interesting.


drumweaver profile image

drumweaver 3 years ago from our blessed earth mother - canada...

Wow... great hub with such useful and important information - thanks for posting this!

However... i have to say having that shocking first photo at the top of the page is waaay too much for me - especially when i wasn't expecting it... i'm not really sure 'scaring' folk at the get-go is the route as i suspect you may turn folk away - it did me though i did come back and quickly scrolled down so i could read your content... i would suggest another photo there and moving that one down a bit...? Just a thought/feedback....


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

This topic is something I have wondered about for some time as my brother is taking that little purple pill and complains of acid reflux symptoms. This article is quite thorough and informative and answered many of my questions.

I'm so very sorry to hear of your husband's passing. That must have been very difficult for you. My deepest condolences on your loss. Peg


always exploring profile image

always exploring 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

This is so important. I had a friend who died quickly from esophageal cancer. She complained of having a cold all of the time. She never complained of difficulty in swallowing or any indigestion, that's why i was so shocked when they diagnosed EC.. Thank you for sharing this..


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Frank, thanks for reading and commenting. Cancer is a horrible disease.

Hi CyberShelley-thanks for your input. It's amazing that what we take for granted, such as indigestion, can be a forewarning that we ignore. Thanks for the votes and your condolences, I appreciate that.

Hi Julie-keep an eye for signs with hubby. Thanks for stopping by.

Barbara Kay- you are so right. I've had so many patients with ongoing problems with GERD and other digestive problems and I've done my best to educate them.

Thanks Danette. I was very happy to find that video and include it. I thought it was the perfect way to explain some of these tests.

Hi drumweaver-I've taken your feedback into consideration and moved it's position. I apologize for shocking or frightening you with it. After I read your points I asked my nephew (19 y.o.) to look at it and he had the same reaction. I suppose the nurse in me just took it for granted that it was no big deal. I appreciate your feedback and thanks for reading and sticking with it, lol.

Hi Peg-thank you for your condolences. Yes, it was a dark time in my life. I would encourage you to talk with your brother, perhaps show him this article, and see if he will take a 'baseline' test to check it out for damage. Thanks for reading.

Hi Ruby-That's amazing that your friend had cold symptoms, which could also be attributed to sinus or seasonal 'allergies'. I would never have connected the two. That's the problem with cancer-it comes on in so many disguises and its any part of the body! Thanks for sharing your experience.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Thanks Denise. I'll have a chat with the brother and see if he is willing to look further into this. Again. Informative article and important issue.


btrbell profile image

btrbell 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

This is a great and informative hub, Denise! I took a sidetrack and read about your husband. I am so sorry for your loss and so happy that you have written this to help others. Thank you! Up+++, my friend!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

You're welcome, Peg. Best to you and your brother.

Hi Randi-thank you for your condolences and feedback. Hope you are doing well! I'll be back around to read your work. :)


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 3 years ago from United States

Thanks for sharing this useful information and your personal experience. You are undoubtedly helping so many others.


aykianink profile image

aykianink 3 years ago

That first image is a punch in the face. Wow. I was not ready for that.

On another note, I'm sorry to hear about your husband, Denise. They say all the good ones are either taken or gay. I had a feeling you were taken. Widow is close.

Hm. Chemo ISN'T radiation. I feel like I should've known that...

Stage I, II, and III cancer are all the same in my mind. (I know they aren't the same, but I can't differentiate.) Future hub idea to link into for you, Denise:-)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

This is a very thoroughly written hub on this horrid disease. I am sorry to hear you lost your husband this way. My husband's brother, who lives in another state, had throat cancer, but I don't know the type. It was found early, and he had surgery. He was a heavy smoker but not obese. He can no longer speak clearly as he has a stoma.

I think this hub is great to make people aware of signs and symptoms. Voted up and shared.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Dexter-thanks so much for your comments. I appreciate it.

aykianink-well, that was after I shrunk it down and set it off to the side! I originally had it at the top center, but someone else commented that it was too much, so I moved it. I'm glad you had a chance to learn some new facts. Yes, I have joined the widow's club. My story is rather different-we were divorced, but remained very good friends, supportive of each other throughout several years. When he was terminally ill, it was one of his wishes to be remarried. We were wed one week before he died. I was devastated for many months afterwards. I moved in with my daughter and took care of my grandson, but I avoided all nursing work. He died in 2005 and for the first 5 years it would hit me every August. It's been much better these last years, but he was a huge part of the history of who I am. We married when I was 30, a single mom with two young girls. He just was such a positive light in my life until his addiction to gambling broke us up. There's a link to the hub I wrote about his journey towards death. Thanks for your condolences. :)

Hello Pamela, any cancer is just horrific. If it doesn't completely take one's life, it can take some part of you. Thanks for your input here, as well as the vote and share. I appreciate it. :)


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 3 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

oh my god, this is so scary!we really need to check our health some time to avoid these kind of illness.


aykianink profile image

aykianink 3 years ago

"When he was terminally ill, it was one of his wishes to be remarried. We were wed one week before he died."

Holy smokes. My hat's off to you, Denise. The women in my past (most of them) could give a rip if my clothes were on fire. You are most definitely a one-of-a-kind woman. *applause*


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi unknown spy-you're right. The scary thing most of all is that there are so many people walking around with chronic indigestion and just ignoring if it is anything more serious. I begged my husband for years to get his symptoms checked out.

aykianink-your comment made me chuckle-I could just picture you running around with your clothes on fire and the women lifting their hands up in the 'talk to the hand' gesture. Who the heck have you hung out with?

I was living and working in California when I got the news that the biopsy was malignant and the tumor was inoperable. John had been my best support system, besides my two daughters, and the news of his terminal illness was devastating. I could not imagine my life without him in it. He had this magnificent 'jolly' laugh and kind heart. When my daughter broke the news to me I made the decision to leave my job and be with John till the end. I had worked hospice before, and had also given hospice care to my mother. I left my job and stayed with him until his death. Then I moved into my daughters home for about six months.

I don't know of being a one-of-a-kind...I didn't marry him to grant him his wish, I married him because it was the right thing to do...not sure if that makes any sense or not, but it's what I felt was the right thing in my heart. Kind of like when I took my nephew into my house to finish raising him when he had nowhere to go. I just didn't expect the remarriage to last just one week. You really must read the 'Journey to death' link I left in this hub. It really was an amazing, spiritual experience. Thanks for your added comments.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa

Oh, and I am living in Southern Africa! This is an extremely interesting hub, Denise. It must have been very hard for you to see your husband suffering this horrible condition. Voted A++++


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Martie, I'm glad you found this article interesting, and I hope useful. I can't begin to describe to you how difficult it was. If you wish to read the journey to his death, there is a link on this page. I wrote about the first news, the decision to do hospice with John, and the final days. Thanks for the votes. :)


Lipnancy profile image

Lipnancy 3 years ago from Hamburg, New York

So sorry for your loss and all you had to go through. I hope that you article is able to reach and educate others.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Nancy, thank you for your condolences. I hope the article does alert people to the problems that can develop with simple indigestion that is ignored.Have a good week.


Vellur profile image

Vellur 3 years ago from Dubai

Very sorry for your great loss. The picture is so scary. Valuable information here, thanks for sharing.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hello Vellur, thank you for your condolences, I appreciate it. I know the photo is scary, but it's the truth of the disease-it's not pretty.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

Very informative hub here. We have a friend who told us that they found cancer on the left side of his throat, but I am not sure what type of cancer. Will find out more. I am so very sorry for your tremendous loss.

Voted up ++++ and sharing

God bless, Faith Reaper


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you, Faith. I hope your friend gets the treatment for a full recovery. And, thank you for your kink condolences. Many blessings to you.


gail641 profile image

gail641 3 years ago from Mason City

My brother had cancer of the esophagus. He had surgery and lost most of his stomach, esophagus and lymph nodes. A few year later he found out that he has bone cancer. He's not doing good. Cancer is a terrible killer! He smokes, but didn't drink-(only pop). He's real nice and his favorite pop has always been Pepsi.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi gail-I'm sorry to hear that your brother is battling cancer. I'm not sure if one is better than another, unless one happens to have a better prognosis and bone cancer, in my experience, does not have that. I don't mean to be the bearer of bad news, and I certainly hope he is doing all he can to take care of himself, provide comfort for himself, and find pain relief. Thank you for reading and commenting here. I wish you both the best and will add you to my prayer list. God bless.


gail641 profile image

gail641 3 years ago from Mason City

Thank you. God Bless, too. Hopefully, he will find some pain relief. You're welcome.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks Gail. :) Try to take care of yourself as well.


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 3 years ago

i passed this on to a good friend of mine who has had indigestion for years and years - and over the past few years has been having more trouble swallowing - occasionally actually CHOKING..

i so believe it's stress, and he just went for a scope, but, results aren't back yet..

this information was laid out great, Denise - easy to read, easy to understand - yet - hard to, ahem - swallow..

(sorry..i don't mean to make light - its just that...ya know..lol)


gail641 profile image

gail641 3 years ago from Mason City

My brother lost his battle with bone cancer April 1st, 2013. It was so sad to see that happen to him. He was only 59 years old. Cancer is a terrible killer!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Gail-thank you for coming back with that report. I'm so sorry for your loss. I know this has been very difficult for you. Please take good care of yourself and loved ones during this grieving process.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Leslie-thanks for sharing this with your friend...I'll be curious about the results and will think positive that it is not a tumor. How are you? I almost got to chat the other night but we missed each other. Have to work tomorrow but will try to send out an email to you as a 'catch up'. Have a good week.


gail641 profile image

gail641 3 years ago from Mason City

Thank you, Denise. I will, thanks.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

I just read your comment, Gail, and want you to know I'm keeping you in my thoughts. I hope you are managing as best as can be expected. Watch out for the memory triggers. Take care.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa

My uncle died within 6 months of his diagnosis. It's a terrible disease, and I am sorry to hear you lost your husband from it. Hopefully this hub will prompt more people to get their early symptoms checked out before it's too late.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Deborah, I'm sorry for the loss of your uncle from this horrible cancer. I hope he did not suffer very much. I wrote a memoir of my journey with my husband John, and it has been accepted as part of an anthology on grief. It's being published this month and I'm excited to see the final work.

As for the Esoph. cancer, I just finished reading an article about it and plan on doing an update. Thanks for your personal story.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 3 years ago from California

Fascinating information. My dad. uncle and high school friend had esophageal cancer. When dad died there was almost no information available.

One thing I didn't see mentioned as an early sign was the taste of food changes. So sorry about your husband.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hello Tirelesstraveler-I'm sorry to hear that so many people in your life were stricken with this horrible disease. I did not include change in taste as a symptom, because that is usually associated with tongue or mouth cancer. Having a tumor in the esophagus does not necessarily change the taste of food. In fact, many people who have this want to eat, but have difficulty doing so. Another way that food flavor changes is through chemotherapy. When a person undergoes this or even radiation, the taste buds are often affected.

Thank you for your condolences. I think of him often and have recently heard from my editor that my memoir of his journey towards death is being published this month, which thrills me. It will be a nice tribute to his memory.


tirelesstraveler profile image

tirelesstraveler 3 years ago from California

Congratulations.


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Thanks for sharing, Denise....powerful and personal health hub. We really must take care of our health...is the one thing we all should cherish. Thanks for giving us the ins and outs of treatment too.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thanks, Tirelesstraveler, I'm very excited and can hardly wait to receive my copy.

Hi Michelle, thanks for reading this and getting the word out by sharing. It's amazing how little pains here and there can turn into something greater, scary, too.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 3 years ago from California

So useful, but a little scary--many, many singers have GERD


pinto2011 profile image

pinto2011 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

You have really treated this subject very well.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

My best friend's brother died of this cancer in his mid 40s after four month's of treatment. Being aware of the early signs is so important. Thank you for this hub. And I'm so sorry for your loss.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Hi Audrey, yes, that is true. Many people who are NOT singers also have GERD-it is almost a national epidemic, it is so common. Since my husband died of this I wonder about tumors every time I have indigestion that my Nexium does not clear up!

Thank you, Pinto2011, for your comments.

Hi Kathleen, thank you for your condolences. My sympathy to your friend. It is an amazingly aggressive cancer!


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Esophageal Cancer: Symptoms and Treatment so important information and you explained to the point. Something I didn't know much about before I read your hub. thanks for sharing your knowledge.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

You're welcome, DDE It is a frightening cancer and so difficult to recover from. Usually, by the time it is diagnosed, it is too late.


Tashaonthetown profile image

Tashaonthetown 3 years ago from South Africa

Sorry for your loss! This hub is so graphic and reading it has made me actually want to quit smoking.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you for reading and commenting Tasha. The fact that you said it makes you question your smoking is wonderful compliment. I hope you do quit...you deserve it. I'm sorry for the graphic picture. I know it has alarmed people, but no matter where I put it, it is there 'in your face'.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

This is a really useful post that many people can benefit from and it could even save lives. I'm sorry for your and your family's loss, but thankful that you have been able to use it to help others. That you are a professional with personal experience made it important for you to write about this cancer. Thank you for a straightforward look at this disease.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

Hello Denise, thank you for this important information. I have GERD and am on prescription medication.

I smoked one cigarette, and it almost killed me, and I don't drink, But I have symptoms 1, 3, 4, and 8. And your information is helpful.

Voted up, UAI and will share.


mr-veg profile image

mr-veg 3 years ago from Colorado United States

Denise, You are really Strong and you have shared your real life experience here that would surely benefit others who might be going through this suffering and maybe an eye opener to some who casually ignore the symptoms.. Sorry for your personal loss, I know it creates a Void within which can't be replaced... All my well wishes are with you !!!


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina Author

Thank you, Anand, for your well wishes...they have been received with an open heart. Strong is what was necessary. I do hope that some readers will heed the warning signs. Bless you, my friend.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Hi Denise, I came back to reread this one after my hubby had an irregularity in his endoscopy report. He had at least 3 of the symptoms you've listed above - the GERD, the change in the voice and frequent heartburn among other things. With medication, he should be okay. Your hub really places importance on getting attention for these things. Well done on writing this informative hub.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

Tis is very informative and I hope it helps some to get an early diagnosis. I'm sorry that you had a personal experience with the illness of your husband. It is a frightening cancer and one that cannot be ignored.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 2 years ago from North Carolina Author

Oh, gosh Peggy. I am so glad that you took action and that the medication will help. Be very vigilant about this and watch if it 'shows up' in other areas nearby. Take care and God Bless.

Hi Vespa, thank you for your kind words. I think of him often, especially when I am in Michigan, like I am right now. Take care.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Thanks, Denise. Our doctor is wonderful. He's no nonsense, yet friendly and concerned. He came into the recovery area right after the procedure with photos and told us he'd taken a biopsy, etc.. The odds are in J's favor with this very tiny area of Barrett's Esophagus. Unfortunately, J will be on the medication (Omeprazole) the remainder of his life.

I'm grateful that he finally went in for an examination or it might have been worse.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 2 years ago from North Carolina Author

Oh I agree, Peg. Esophageal disorders are easy to put off as indigestion and GERD. I'm glad J is not a man in denial of potential seriousness of symptoms. Thank God. I'm glad your doctor is proactive. Take care.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

I have Barrett's Esophagus. It worries me. My last Endoscopy was very good, but two years down the line I am having a lot of problems and am hoping to get in ASAP for another scope. I lost 16 pounds last year doing nothing, but it came back on so I don't think it was the Barrett's. I am hoping it isn't cancer. I've been to ER three times in the last year, one just the other day, to rule out heart attack. Praying for no cancer and something that will help my symptoms. That photo is gross, but I get why you put it there.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 2 years ago from North Carolina Author

OMG, I will keep you in my prayers as you investigate this issue. Barrett's Esophagus is not a comfortable health problem to have. Please get back to me, if you feel like sharing your medical update. Yes, the photo actually was too shocking for some. I had to move it from the center top because it was so disturbing, to the side. Yes, it does seem gross, but important. Thanks for reading this and commenting. Take care.

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