Reviewed by Bronwyn Long, DNP, MBA, ACHPN, AOCNS, ACNS-BC

People with esophageal cancer may have symptoms. Some people who have early-stage disease do not have many symptoms, which means the cancer may not be detected right away. Symptoms may include:

  • Food sticks in the esophagus and will not pass all the way to the stomach; you may choke or vomit up food that becomes stuck,
  • Painful swallowing,
  • Pain in the chest or back,
  • Weight loss,
  • Fatigue,
  • Heartburn and/or
  • Coughing or hoarseness.

These symptoms may be caused by esophageal cancer or by other health conditions. Testing is done to make a diagnosis and determine the best treatment plan.

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