Patient Comments: Esophageal Cancer - Symptoms and Signs

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

Comment from: nise65, 55-64 Female (Caregiver) Published: July 07

My husband told me he couldn't swallow, this was in March 2014. I took him to the gastroenterologist, they scoped him and found a mass. Biopsy showed esophageal cancer, the tumor was covering 53% of his throat. In a week they started him on radiation every day for six weeks, and chemotherapy every Tuesday. It infiltrated the walls of the esophagus, his is down near his stomach. On July 23rd, 2014 they are going to remove his esophagus. They are going to build him a new one out of his stomach. I've never been so terrified.

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Comment from: ecancer, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: June 23

With esophageal cancer I first couldn't swallow, like my chest was going to explode. I couldn't keep food down without throwing up and gasping for air.

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Comment from: GKA, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 20

I went to the general physician suffering severe acid reflux, in September 2011. He referred me to a cancer center in Melbourne, and cancer was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. I had the chemotherapy, radition and underwent the Ivor Lewis gastrectomy operation. I still get very fatigued and can only work part time, but I mustn"t grumble; it's far better than looking up at the lid.

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Comment from: Les, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: October 15

I was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in April 2013. I have been undergoing chemotherapy since early May. The only symptoms I had were that I had an overall feeling of tiredness for about two weeks before my wife and children made me go to the emergency room. I expected something to do with my type 2 diabetes and was shocked when the doctors told me about the cancer. I am doing well and have never felt better. The chemotherapy has not affected me at all - for which I am very thankful. I have another CT scan next Monday and am hoping for more good news!

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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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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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