Constantly worried !!!

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I have had achalasia for about 20 years with fairly successful myotomy surgery ; can swallow more or less any food as long as I drink plenty of water to help wash down ; my problem is that I constantly worry about getting oesophageal cancer as I heard that this was a risk of achalasia ?? Have consultants mentioned this to any of you ? Hope I’m worrying about nothing , sorry for the long post xx

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  • Posted

    I come from a family with a history of gastro- oesophageal and low pH stomach acid. My grandmother had an operation for achalasia in her 40's and lived to 92. My brother recently described similair symptoms to me. I thought it was the same as my Gran. However he has been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer at age 51 with none of the predisposing behaviours. I would think speaking to your doctor about your concerns and asking for a regular gastroscopy, PPI or whatever they suggest to allay your anxiety.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your quick reply, my consultant said there was no need to scope regularly as the risk was low but I still worry about it !! Just wondered if others had a different response from drs/surgeons on cancer risk xxx

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  • Posted

    I have had achalasia for 32yrs. I had a myotomy 30yrs ago.It helped a lot but i had to go back to drs 2yrs ago because of heartburn.I ended up having a stretch which has helpd immensly I have been discharged with no follow up endoscopy. Better to get on with life worrying just causes more anxiety therefore achalasia symptoms are worse.Good luck to you
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    • Posted

      Thankyou Maz Maz I’m really pleased that you are managing well with your achalasia and yes I agree stress has a huge impact on my swallowing, re my worry’s of oesophageal cancer I have found it really frustrating as no one is able to give me an answer on achalasia being a risk; on the intanet I’ve read that the risk is high but other sites saying it’s low or not at all !! 
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  • Posted

    There is no link between achalasia and cancer that I am aware of, and I have heard a surgeon say the same to a group of achalasia patients.   But 'swallowing difficulties' are a common symptom to both, notwithstanding that the cause of the difficulty is different.

    There is a risk (but low) in relation to long term reflux though.   Reflux is common, but is normally associated with the lower oesophageal sphincter valve between the stomach and the oesophagus being too loose;  with achalasia it is normally too tight.   Persistent reflux can be associated with a condition called  Barrett's Oesophagus where, again, the risk is low (a person with newly-developed Barrett's aged 30 years may have a 12-25% risk of cancer by the age of 80 years) but it is very much dependent on whether dysplasia has developed.   There are explanations on the website of Action Against Heartburn.

    Worry and tension can make the achalasia worse, so I know this is easier said than done, but trying to relax will probably help.   Some people find relaxation techniques helpful.

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    • Posted

      Thank you Alan, I definitely notice my achalasia symptoms worsen when I'm stressed, makes me feel better hearing your comments x

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  • Posted

    My Achalasia get worse worrying or stressed. The pains I get sometimes makes me think I got cancer. The first thing I do is look on the web by putting in Achalasia and cancer worse thing you could do really. Now I live day to day enjoying what time I get with my son.

    I hope you find peace I've talk to many sufferers who've had Achalasia for over 4 decades.

    All the best o and I couldn't have a myotomy as my sphincter was to badly scarred and had complication during endoscopy.

    Wish you well. 🌼

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  • Posted

    Hello Rachel, 

    when it comes to achalasia, there is slightly different mechanism involved as compared to pathologically relaxed lower sphincter. The chance of developing oesophagial cancer with symptoms is only slightly more than asympthomatic and slightly more than people with dysplasia. Being a woman you are standing on the better side of the statistics. Proven achalasia is not a factor that you should worry about.If you feel anxious however I would recommend searching for GI clinic where they can perform quick transnasal endoscopy yearly (much faster and more comfortable than classic endoscopy) and put your mind at ease. Yes, there are symptoms with achalasia, but they are non indicative of any malignancy. 

    Worrying makes the muscular spasm worse and exacerbates any existing and arising symptoms.

    Take care, 

    Martin 

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