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
  • weight loss
  • food coming back up before reaching the stomach (regurgitation) or being sick (vomiting)
  • pain when swallowing
  • indigestion or heartburn that doesn’t go away
  • a cough
  • a hoarse voice – caused by pressure on the nerve that supplies the voice box
  • dull pain or discomfort behind the breastbone or in the back.

There are other conditions that can cause these symptoms, but you should always have them checked out by your doctor.

If you have symptoms that don’t improve within a few weeks, it’s important that you’re referred 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.