Dysphagia is the medical term for when someone experiences difficulty swallowing. Numerous conditions present with dysphagia as a symptom. It occurs frequently in conjunction with many cancers. Here are ten types of cancer that include dysphagia in their list of symptoms.
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Lymphoma is a type of cancer that appears as Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Both forms of lymphoma occur in the head and neck area in 11-33% of all cases. When it makes an appearance in the chest region, dysphagia is a common warning symptom along with breathlessness and cough.
Laryngeal Cancer (Voice Box)
Laryngeal cancer has a pronounced effect on eating and swallowing. This is very distressing to the patient. Treatment may involve laryngectomy, a surgery to remove part or all of the larynx. An alternate surgery is a tracheostomy, where the trachea is incised to insert a breathing tube.
Thyroid Gland Cancer
When the thyroid gland becomes enlarged from cancer it can press on the organs responsible for swallowing, causing dysphagia. The patient may experience a choking feeling or as if food is stuck in the throat.
Dysphagia is experienced in two of the three phases of swallowing in tongue cancer patients – the pharyngeal and oral phases. This is aggravated by surgical, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. Three factors affect the degree of difficulty experienced: being male, how big the section is that was removed by surgery, and how far cancer has progressed to the lymph glands.
Pharynx Cancer (Throat)
Aspiration is when the food you have swallowed goes down the airways or into the lungs. Treatment of pharynx cancer by radiation is linked to a higher risk of aspiration. This could cause aspiration pneumonia along with serious health problems and even death.
Dysphagia after radiation for pharynx cancer has an 83% chance of happening in patients who have not had a recurrence of cancer since radiation.
Cancer of the Nasal Cavity and Sinuses
It is uncommon for someone with cancer of the nasal cavity and sinuses to be without symptoms. Both cancer and its treatment can cause dysphagia. Radiotherapy causes an extremely sore throat that also affects swallowing. When cancer makes swallowing problematic, a SimplyThick thickener is useful to improve the ability to take in food and sustain nutrition.
Primary Malignant Melanoma of the Esophagus
Primary malignant melanoma of the esophagus (PMME) occurs in less than 0.2% of all esophageal malignant tumors. It usually has a poor outcome despite being so rare.
Dysphagia is the most common symptom by which PMME is diagnosed. A biopsy must be performed to confirm cancer.
Cancer of the Salivary Glands
Cancer of the salivary glands is usually suspected of dysphagia or finding a lump. It is also rare cancer that may occur after radiation. It is best diagnosed by a biopsy.
Esophagus Cancer (Food Pipe)
Esophagus cancer presents with dysphagia, weight loss, chest pain, hoarseness, vomiting, and coughing. Dysphagia is the most common of these as the opening in the esophagus decreases.
Carcinoma of the Lung
When dysphagia appears in lung cancer, it means that cancer has progressed too far to be operated on. Carcinoma of the lung should be the primary suspect with dysphagia in the mid-esophagus.
Dysphagia is uncomfortable and is often a symptom after the treatment of cancer as well as without any action having been taken.