Patient Comments: Esophageal Cancer - Symptoms and Signs

What were the symptoms and signs you experienced with esophageal cancer?

Comment from: Sue B, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 20

My husband was diagnosed with esophageal cancer on Sept. 1, 2005. He'd been having increasing trouble swallowing and has started losing weight. He went to see the doctor who sent him to a specialist to do a scope. As soon as he had the diagnosis, he was referred to a surgeon. The surgery was Sept. 29, 2005, and they removed the tumor and part of the esophagus. That December, he started chemo and radiation treatments. He had radiation for four weeks straight and four week-long rounds of chemo (first week of radiation, last week of radiation, one month later and one month after that). His pic line was removed on the final day of chemo (April 14, 2006). He goes for CT scans every six months now (in the first year it was every three months), and sees all three of his fabulous doctors to discuss the results. Three years later, he is still cancer-free, and we are more hopeful each time that the next time will also be clear. Not to scare anyone, but based on our research of this disease and our discussions with the doctors, we believe that with surgery alone, he wouldn't have survived the first year. He just turned 50 in January (2009), and we're now making long-term plans again. He's frequently tired, can't eat much at one time, and often suffers acid reflux at night. This is our "new normal," and we are happy to live with it because we still have each other and our family and are otherwise healthy. One strange side effect of all his treatments is that his immune system seems to be stronger than before. He used to catch every cold and flu bug the kids brought home; now he's seldom sick, and it's less severe when he is sick. These are small blessings for sure but blessings just the same.

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Comment from: abcd123, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: April 03

My dad had been complaining of chest pain for quite some time. He soon began to complain about pain in his leg. He finally went to the doctor in June, and we found out that he has esophageal cancer. The cancer had already spread to his leg. My dad continued to fight. He went to all his doctor appointments, and things seemed to be going OK. Then in September, they told him there was nothing left they could do. He died a week later. My dad was only 56. He left behind his wife of 20 years and four children. I hate cancer.

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Comment from: Lisa, 65-74 Male (Caregiver) Published: February 20

My dad had heartburn all of his adult life. One day, he didn't have it all of a sudden, but later he had a pinching in his right side near his liver. He went to a doctor who had him tested, and he had a tumor at the base of his esophagus. He was referred to an oncologist who, after further testing, determined it had spread to his liver, spine and brain. Dad was treated with radiation and chemo, but sadly passed away six months after the diagnosis. My advice to everyone: Get an upper and lower GI test performed. My dad never did, and it probably would have saved his life.

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Comment from: Jeff , 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: December 17

My Mom died 2 weeks ago from esophageal cancer; she had been diagnosed 1yr ago. She was 75yrs old. When she had trouble breathing the doctor said she had pneumonia in the left lung. She then went back to the Cancer Hospital for a barium x-ray, what nobody saw was the tumor had tripled in size in only 4 months, and it opened up her left lung. When the barium test was done, she drowned in the barium, 48 hours later she had passed away. Please if anybody has this double and triple check that all doctors are on the same page. This procedure I feel rather shortened her life by 3-6 months. They (the doctors) won't talk about what happened they just want back the x-rays I have in possession.

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Comment from: filthyrich, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: August 20

My dad noticed a weakness and lack of energy feeling that persisted for two months. He took sick leave at work. He suffered from acid reflux a lot and worked in an environment for 30 years where he inhaled alcohol solvents and poison. He continued to lose weight. He lost his appetite and had no energy and vomited after meals. Tests showed Esophagus cancer. It progressed rapidly and two months after diagnosis, he was dead. RIP Buck.

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Comment from: froggietoyou, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: March 25

My husband was diagnosed Dec. 24, 2008 with esophageal cancer. After a lung biopsy, he also has squamous cell lung cancer. A PET scan also showed cancer in a lymph node in the middle of his chest area. He started chemo and radiation therapy in February of 2009. After the second round of chemo and 24 days of radiation, he has gotten so sick. He can't eat, and he can barely drink. He was in the hospital for severe dehydration, nausea, and pain with swallowing. After a few days, they sent him home for me to take care of. The doctors seem to think it's side effects of the treatments, which they have discontinued indefinitely. I agree with that but, I also think the cancer is getting worse.

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Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Esophageal Cancer - Prognosis and Stage Question: What is your esophageal cancer prognosis? What stage is your esophageal cancer?
Esophageal Cancer - Types Question: Do you or someone you know have adenocarcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus? Please share your story.
Esophageal Cancer - Risk Factors Question: Do you have any of the risk factors for esophageal cancer? What are they, and what are your concerns?
Esophageal Cancer - Diagnosis Question: What kinds of tests and exams led to a diagnosis of esophageal cancer?
Esophageal Cancer - Treatment Question: What kinds of treatment, including radiation or chemotherapy, did you receive for esophageal cancer?
Esophageal Cancer - Surgery Question: Please describe the surgical experience you or someone you know had for esophageal cancer.
Esophageal Cancer - Doctors & Second Opinion Question: How did you go about getting a second opinion for your esophageal cancer?
Esophageal Cancer - Prognosis & Follow-Up Care Question: What type of follow-up care did you receive for your esophageal cancer?

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