Oesophageal cancer symptoms and risk factors
There are often no symptoms of oesophageal cancer, particularly in the early stages. However, if there are symptoms, they may include:
- difficulty swallowing
- harsh, raspy, strained voice
- pain, pressure or burning in the throat or chest
- loss of appetite
- unexplained weight loss
- black stools.
It is best to see your doctor for review and investigation if you experience unexplained symptoms that worry you. They will ask you questions to help understand whether the cause of symptoms are oesophageal cancer or another condition.
Oesophageal cancer risk factors
A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the development of cancer, most do not directly cause cancer.
Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. Knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.
Risk factors for oesophageal cancer include:
- High alcohol consumption
- Smoking tobacco
- Diet low in fresh fruit and vegetables
- Exposure to certain chemical fumes
- Family history of gastrointestinal disorders
- Medical conditions such as Barrett’s oesophagus, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) or achalasia.
> How oesophageal cancer is diagnosed