Oesophageal cancer

In oesophageal cancer, the food pipe (or gullet) gets progressively narrower; this causes difficulty swallowing solids and later also fluids.

Overview

In oesophageal cancer, the food pipe (or gullet) gets progressively narrower; this causes difficulty swallowing solids and later also fluids. Other symptoms include belching or hoarseness. Preventive measures include moderate consumption of alcohol, no smoking and avoidance of excess weight.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • Difficulty/pain when swallowing (in particular solid foods, whereas mushy foods and fluids can initially still be swallowed easily)
  • Chest pressure/pain behind the sternum

Other symptoms

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Vomiting or spitting up blood
  • Hoarseness

Causes and treatment

Causes

Risk factors include:

  • Regular consumption of high-proof alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Repeated contact of oesophagus with stomach acid (reflux disease, belching)

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Endoscopy of gullet (oesophagoscopy) with simultaneous removal of a tissue sample for examination under a microscope (biopsy)
  • X-ray
  • CT scan (computed tomography)
  • PET (positron emission tomography)
Possible therapies
  • Operation (only in the early stages)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Insertion of small tube into the oesophagus (stent) so that food and fluids can be swallowed again

What can I do myself?

When to see a doctor?

  • Difficulty/pain when swallowing
  • Involuntary weight loss
  • Sudden loss of appetite

Further information

Swiss Cancer League (Krebsliga Schweiz)
www.krebsliga.ch

Health insurance premiums at a glance

Calculate premium

Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

CSS Insurance – your health partner

Being healthy, getting well or living with illness: as your health partner, CSS Insurance is by your side on your journey through life.

Well looked