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Often, an early stage of esophageal cancer has no symptoms. Symptoms do not appear until the disease is more advanced. The following are the most common symptoms of esophageal cancer. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Difficult or painful swallowing: A condition known as dysphagia, this is the most common symptom of esophageal cancer. This gives a sensation of having food lodged in the chest, and persons with dysphagia often switch to softer foods to help with swallowing.
Pain in the throat or back, behind the breastbone or between the shoulder blades
Severe weight loss: Many persons with esophageal cancer lose weight unintentionally because they are not getting enough food.
Hoarseness or chronic cough
Coughing up blood
Indigestion and heartburn
The symptoms of esophageal cancer may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis. Learn more about diagnosing esophageal cancer.
There is no routine screening examination for esophageal cancer, however, persons with Barrett's esophagus should be examined often since they are at greater risk for developing the disease.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.