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what are the chances this is esophageal cancer?
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what are the chances this is esophageal cancer?

I'm a 59-year-old male and I live in the UK. I'm slightly overweight (180 pounds/6 ft tall), but was about 165 pounds until about 8 years ago. I've never smoked, and my alcohol intake is usually one can of beer each day.

I should point out here that I have one bad habit that may be relevant - I eat one meal a day, and this is usually an hour or so before bedtime, which I have heard can cause acid reflux. However, I very rarely get any heartburn at night (I don't know if you can get heartburn while asleep and never know you've had it - can you?). Very rarely, I will burp some acid into my mouth while awake in bed (2 or 3 times a year). I never wake in the morning with heartburn or any acid feeling in my throat.

In the daytime I never get heartburn, and I rarely have any other digestive problems.

Now to why I'm so worried. About a year ago, I began to notice that if I ate something like a sandwich hurriedly, some of it would stick around the level of the lower end of my breast-bone. I'd hardly feel it, but when I swallowed a second bite, it would be really painful, as if it were having to squeeze round the first lump of food, or as if it were pushing that first lump down. I could clear the whole obstruction with a big swallow of water, and this would cause a lot of pain for a few seconds. Then I'd eat more slowly and (usually) have no more problems.

I wasn't worried, because I thought it was just because I was rushing my food, but it's been going on for months, and I think it's taking less food to do it.

Googling my symptoms has really scared me, since esophageal cancer looks like a prime suspect (along with Barrett's esophagus, which sounds nearly as bad a disease to have).

It's Saturday evening, I won't even be able to see a doctor until Monday, and any tests might be weeks away.

If anyone can give an opinion on what might be causing this, I'd be very grateful. If any more information is needed about my diet, habits, etc, I'll come back.

Many thanks.



1 Comment
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2827584_tn?1340583296
Your symptoms would argue that food is having trouble passing through the esophagus and you seem to have a history of reflux. Although esophageal cancer can present like this as your Googling has shown it would be more common to have either spasm or stricture from the longstanding irritation. An upper endoscopy would be in order to sort this out and, unfortunately, you won't have your answer until this is done.
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