Signs and symptoms of oesophageal cancer

The most common symptoms of oesophageal cancer include:

  • difficulty swallowing – feeling that your food is sticking in your throat or chest
  • food coming back up before reaching the stomach (regurgitation)
  • being sick (vomiting)
  • pain in your throat or in the middle of your chest when swallowing
  • indigestion or heartburn that does not go away
  • a cough
  • a hoarse voice
  • dull pain or discomfort behind the breastbone or in the back – for example, between the shoulder blades
  • weight loss.

These symptoms can be caused by other conditions, but you should always have them checked out by your doctor.

If you have symptoms that do not improve within a few weeks, it is important that your GP refers you to a specialist. They can arrange tests to find out what the problem is.

Back to Understanding oesophageal cancer

What is cancer?

There are more than 200 different kinds of cancer, each with its own name and treatment.

The oesophagus

The oesophagus (gullet) is part of the digestive system. It connects the mouth to the stomach.