Worried About Esophageal Cancer — What to Look For
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I've had mild throat discomfort for several months — not really a sore throat but more like swollen glands. I am a smoker, and my father died a year ago from esophageal cancer. I'm scared that I might have cancer. What symptoms should I look out for? When should I see a doctor?
Some signs of head and neck cancer include persistent cough, difficulty or pain with swallowing, persistent hoarseness or changes in voice, coughing up blood (hemoptysis), ulcers or sores that won’t heal, and lumps in the neck. Additional risk factors include a history of smoking and drinking, and in some cases, a family history of head and neck cancer.
These are some things to look for, but by no means does it mean you have cancer if you have any of these symptoms or findings. As a general rule of thumb, symptoms like those you describe should be addressed with your physician if they have persisted for several months. Since you are a smoker and have a family history, a thorough head and neck examination is in your best interest.
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