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Hi, I am a 29-year-old male, borderline-obese as per my BMI. From the past 6 months I have been suffering from frequent heartburns, but through simple OTC medicines I have managed to control it. Just 1 month ago, due to food poisoning I suffered an acidity attack - severe heartburn, burning sensation in stomach, intermittent chest pains & some dysphagia while eating solid food. I went straight away to the doctor; he told me that I could be suffering from either a peptic ulcer or GERD. He prescribed me an anti-reflux syrup & PPI-tablets and told me to check back after 6 weeks.
It's been 5 weeks since I'm on medication & while most symptoms are gone now, the dysphagia is still there - in fact it has worsened. I feel discomfort / mild pain in my upper chest region while eating & though it is intermittent, it's intensity has increased since last time. Now, I am really scared because these happen to be the symptoms of Esophageal Cancer too...
I called up the doctor immediately and told him about my concern; as he is out of town, I could only speak on the phone. However, he is still quite unflustered about it – he told me I don’t need to worry about getting Esophageal cancer as I am too young for it (the cancer occurs only for those who are above 45 years of age) & not only that but my voice is also quite clear (as those with Esophageal cancer generally have voice-hoarseness). He reassures me that it is only a case of severe GERD or a peptic ulcer & has told me to continue with the medications for 3 more weeks & take care of my diet.
I am really scared of this, even if my doctor has reassured me that there is no need to fear. Should I convince him to get an endoscopy done immediately to rule out cancer possibility?
Well, the dysphagia may take a few weeks to settle after the treatment is initiated. The presence of dysphagia alone does not indicate the presence of cancer, as this can be associated with a number of more common conditions and an endoscopy would not be required. I would suggest following your doctors management plan for a few weeks before seeking a review with him/ her.
Hope the information is helpful.
Dear Dr. Kaul, thanks so much for your words of advice. I recently had an Upper-GI Endoscopy done, and to my good fortune there was no Esophageal Cancer or even Barrett's Syndrome. However, we did find an unusually high amount of stomach acid and a hint of peptic ulcer. The doctor determined that due to a dysfunctional esophageal sphincter, the acid refluxed and could have done minor damage to my esophagus - causing my dysphagia. However, the biopsy revealed later that I have been infected with H-Pylori bacteria & have been put on a strong antibiotics course for two weeks to hopefully eradicate it. But anyways I am so relieved that I don't have cancer & thanks for your advice - it really gave me confidence while taking the medications and leading to my Endoscopy.
@Like23: It's been a while since you posted, but I would like to know if your husband is ok too, i.e. no cancer or barett's
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