Patient Comments: Esophageal Cancer - Symptoms and Signs

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

Comment from: dualdisk, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: January 06

I was diagnosed with stage 3 esophageal cancer in June of 2008, had surgery in July, then radiation and chemotherapy. It's now January of 2014 and I was discharged from my oncologist in November of 2013. I was told by my oncologist I had a 15% survival rate the first year. So for everyone who has this horrible disease there is hope. Cancer research has come a long way. Just another thought, a friend of mine was diagnosed with the same cancer and 2 years later the cancer returned. He started chemotherapy again and was told he only had 6 months to live, well it's been a year and he is still with us. So the doctors don't always know what they are talking about.

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Comment from: Holli, 45-54 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 08

My husband had a terrible history of heartburn and acid reflux. He self medicated with over-the-counter pills and liquids for a number of years. He noticed he started losing weight and was pleased, as he was a little overweight. The weight came off slowly at first, but then he was unable to swallow and felt like food was getting stuck and he needed to belch. After waiting a month to see the family doctor, then another month for GI doctor, he had the esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) and biopsy. It turns out those were symptoms of esophageal cancer. He did traditional chemotherapy/radiation and it spread to his spine. He is now in clinical trials after his oncologist provided a 6-month to two-year survival rate. He is 45 years old and otherwise healthy. We are hopeful now, which is more than we had last year. My strong advice to anyone is this: get a second opinion and push for the resection if it is possible.

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Comment from: Brian, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 24

I am just 50 years old and have had stage 4B lymphoma cancer for 6 years. I now have 11 tumors in my throat and I was told I was not a candidate for surgery because it was attached to my carotid artery. Therefore I was advised not to do radiation or chemotherapy for my esophageal cancer. I now have thrush which is from the original cancer. It is a fungus growth in my mouth and throat. I don't wish this on anyone. I've lost 60 lb. in less than 5 weeks.

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Comment from: Jackie, 75 or over Male (Caregiver) Published: January 03

My dad had difficulty swallowing. He had Barrett's esophagus. I took him for an endoscopy, the doctor was really negligent and didn't find anything wrong. Finally, it got really bad where he was throwing up saliva. I took him to a new doctor and long story short, ended up at the Cancer Center. His oncologist found he had stage 3 advanced esophageal carcinoma, and he had proton therapy, some chemotherapy, and radiation. He is cancer free now, going on 2 years. No need for surgery as the tumor is gone and he has had dilations of esophagus by another wonderful doctor who said his esophagus looks great. Now my dad and I and my brother are in Florida enjoying the holidays. Don't ignore your symptoms, and keep digging for answers as, if something feels wrong it is wrong. My dad just turned 87!

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Comment from: Shammi08, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 13

I have been having problems with acid reflux, GERD and heart burn for a number of years. It went away for a long while and now is back. I went to the doctor back in January 2016 and found out I had a stomach bacterial infection. I got that treated and for a few days after treatment I felt better. A few weeks after I begin to have problems with certain foods that I eat getting stuck in my chest area and a cough after I eat. Then I started to vomit and noticed blood. Now I have a sore throat. I know a lot of people with esophageal cancer have said they lost weight but actually I've gained 20 pounds in the last 6 months since I was diagnosed with the stomach bacterial infection. I will be getting a colonoscopy and an upper gastrointestinal (UGI) endoscopy on June 15th, 2016. I will update you what the doctors find or not find.

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Comment from: Jeff T., 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: June 02

I am 68 and 9 months ago I had an esophagectomy. I had been on vacation and had difficulty swallowing. I went to the emergency room when I got home and got scoped. They found the stage 3 tumor at the base of my esophagus. I had chemotherapy for 4 weeks, and radiation every day for 28 days, and 6 weeks later I had a 10 1/2 hour surgery to remove 6 inches of my esophagus and 20 percent of my stomach. The operation was done laparoscopically and though I was in the hospital 10 days, I was walking 24 hours later and off all pain medicines in a week. Surgery was 9/12/15 and I was back to work and to the golf course 11/1/15 and back to the gym 11/15/15. It is now 10 months since my surgery and I feel great. I did lose 20 pounds but now my weight is stable and I can eat anything. Have hope and make sure you go to wherever the best surgeon is!

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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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