The American Cancer Society estimates nearly 17,000 new esophageal cancer diagnoses in 2017. Of those diagnoses, about three-fourths of them will be given to men. Often, cancer of the esophagus is linked to tobacco or alcohol use, or to excess body weight.
While an uncommon diagnosis, accounting for less than one percent of all cancers, the specialists at SSM Health are qualified in treating both types of esophageal cancers: squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.
Signs & Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer
Cancers of the esophagus are usually detected because of the symptoms they present. Unfortunately, these symptoms don’t traditionally begin showing up until more advanced stages of the disease. Symptoms may include:
- Trouble swallowing or feeling like food is stuck in the throat or chest
- Chest pain in the middle part of the chest
- Unexplained weight loss
- Chronic coughing
- Bone pain
- Bleeding into the esophagus, which may turn stools black and lead to anemia over time
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately. They may perform a number of diagnostic tests, including a CT or CAT scan, upper endoscopy, endoscopic ultrasound or a biopsy.
Treating Your Esophageal Cancer
Your SSM Health cancer specialist will discuss your diagnosis and prognosis with you. Together, you will develop a treatment plan that works for your diagnosis and stage of esophageal cancer. Your treatment may include chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy, alone or in combination.
Call an SSM Health physician today to start getting the answers to your cancer questions and discuss your options.