Banner Health
Making healthcare easier

Esophageal Cancer Signs, Symptoms and Types

Each person is unique and each cancer is different. If you’re experiencing concerning symptoms, make an appointment to talk one of the esophageal cancer experts from Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Esophageal Cancer?

The first signs of esophageal cancer that patients may experience are trouble swallowing and/or acid reflux. However, many patients don’t have any symptoms in the early stages. Because esophageal cancer is aggressive, and signs don’t show up until more advanced stages, it can be harder to treat.

Although these symptoms may not mean you have cancer, talk to your doctor if you experience:

  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or choking on food
  • Pain, pressure or burning in the throat or chest
  • Vomiting
  • Hiccupping
  • Coughing
  • Hoarse/gruff voice
  • Unintended weight loss

In more advanced esophageal cancer, you may experience:

  • Not being able to eat or drink because food and liquid cannot get through your esophagus
  • Severe pain in the throat and chest
  • Bleeding in the esophagus

Make an appointment with Banner MD Anderson if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you. Our caring team is dedicated to providing information, support and resources to patients with esophageal cancer.

Types of Esophageal Cancer

There are two main types of esophageal cancer:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma: The most common esophageal cancer worldwide, occurs in the cells lining the upper and middle parts of esophagus.
  • Adenocarcinoma: Common in the United States, affecting primarily white men, it begins in glandular tissue located in the lower part of the esophagus near the stomach.

More rare forms of esophageal cancer include small cell carcinoma, sarcoma, lymphoma, melanoma and choriocarcinoma.

Request an appointment