Heard what? Dysphonia can be a warning sign of esophageal cancer – see your doctor
Esophageal cancer is cancer that is found anywhere in the esophagus, sometimes called the esophagus or esophagus. The general nature of the symptoms associated with this deadly disease can cause esophageal cancer to go unnoticed. Luckily, knowing what to look for can be the first step in spotting a deadly culprit.
While there are various possible symptoms of esophageal cancer, tell-tale signs “may be difficult to spot” according to the NHS.
Early detection of any type of cancer can help ensure a better prognosis, which puts awareness of symptoms first and foremost.
Symptoms of esophageal cancer may not appear until the cancer is large enough to interfere with food intake, making the “first” warning sign difficult to swallow.
However, dysphonia – a sign that affects your voice – can also be a wake-up call.
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Dysphonia, or a hoarse voice, occurs when your voice sounds hoarse, tense, or breathy.
Loudness—how loud or soft you speak—and pitch—how high or low your voice sounds—may also change.
As esophageal cancer grows, it can affect the nerve that controls your vocal cords, causing changes in your voice.
According to the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Hope, in some cases the nerves in the vocal cords can completely stop working.
While dysphonia may alert you to a fatal condition, this symptom is also associated with other benign problems such as allergies.
Fortunately, other tell-tale signs of esophageal cancer can help identify the disease, including:
- Swallowing problems
- feeling or sickness
- Heartburn or acid reflux
- Symptoms of indigestion (such as severe belching)
- Cough that won’t go away
- Loss of appetite or weight loss without trying
- Feeling tired or lack of energy
- Pain in the throat or in the middle of the chest, especially when swallowing.
The National Health Service recommends “seeing your GP” if you continue to have symptoms suggestive of esophageal cancer.
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The Health Service notes: “You may get used to them.
“But it’s important to get checked out by your GP if your symptoms change, get worse, or don’t seem normal to you.”
Although having these symptoms does not guarantee that you have esophageal cancer, it is still important to get tested.
Fortunately, various lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of this debilitating condition.
How to prevent esophageal cancer
Between drinking hot drinks and smoking, certain habits increase the risk of serious illness, according to Cancer Research UK.
In the UK, about 35 percent of esophageal cancers are caused by smoking, a statistic that highlights the importance of quitting smoking.
Research also shows that drinking very hot drinks or liquids can also increase your chance of developing this cancer, so you should wait a few minutes to cool down before enjoying your favorite hot drink.
Other measures, such as avoiding alcohol and maintaining a healthy weight, may also help reduce the risk of esophageal cancer.
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