Being diagnosed with any type of cancer is scary and life-altering. Even if you’re very likely to fully recover and live a long, healthy life, the emotional and physical toll of dealing with cancer and any associated treatments is exhausting. When it comes to esophageal cancer, many warning signs begin early on and may not seem like a big deal at the time. But knowing your body and recognizing changes could save you from a lot of pain and suffering in the future—or even save your life.
While there are early and subtle warning signs of esophageal cancer, remember that many of them can be caused by other conditions. So don’t assume you have esophageal cancer, but it doesn’t hurt to be proactive and see your doctor if you experience some of these signs…
1. Unexpected Weight Loss
There are many causes of unexpected weight loss—weight loss when you aren’t doing anything specific or trying to lose weight—and esophageal cancer is one of them. There are a few reasons people experience weight loss from it, including difficulty swallowing, which forces you to eat less. It can also be from the cancer speeding up your metabolism, something some health experts believe can happen. Either way, unexpected weight loss should not be ignored because of the possible causes.
Of course, if you’ve recently begun a new diet, have been making new, healthy lifestyle choices, or are working out regularly or more intensely, odds are the weight loss is from one of those changes. But if you have dropped weight from doing nothing different, something might be up with your body and it’s worth getting checked out. Even if it’s not esophageal cancer, it could be another medical condition. Catching anything early on is pretty much always better than once the disease or condition has already progressed.