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Oesophageal Cancer Symptoms & Risks

Oesophageal Cancer Symptoms

There are often no symptoms of oesophageal cancer, particularly in the early stages. However, if there are symptoms, they may include:

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Heartburn

  • A persistent cough

  • Pain, pressure, or burning in the throat or chest

  • Hoarseness/ harsh, raspy, strained voice

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Loss of appetite

  • Tiredness

  • Vomiting

  • Black or bloody stool

It is important to realize that these symptoms can also occur in other non-cancerous conditions. However, if you experience any of these symptoms as new and/ or recurring it's important to see your doctor for further investigation.

Oesophageal Cancer Risk Factors

A risk factor is anything that increases the chance of developing cancer. Most do not directly cause cancer in the first instance, but they can influence the development of tumours.

The risk factors for developing oesophagus cancer can be split between 'lifestyle' and medical/ genetic risks.

Lifestyle factors include:

  • High alcohol consumption

  • Smoking tobacco

  • Diet low in fresh fruit and vegetables

  • Obesity

  • Exposure to certain chemical fumes

Medical/ Genetic factors include:

  • Family history of gastrointestinal disorders

  • Medical conditions such as Barrett’s oesophagus, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) or achalasia.

Information on these pages was collated with grateful assistance from the PanCare Foundation.

DISCLAIMER: Information provided by the Gut Cancer Foundation should be discussed with your healthcare professional and is not a substitute for their advice, diagnosis, treatment, or other healthcare services. In some cases, information has been gathered from Australian sources and should be discussed with New Zealand health care professionals.