Terrified I have esophageal cancer

Posted , 4 users are following.

Hi all! I'm a 36 year old mom to three kids and I have had gerd for over a decade now. I've tried Nexium and have been on Prevacid for 5 years. in the last 2 months I've been having some swallowing issues that I brushed off at first. But for the last 10 days I've been having pain in my right shoulder blade when I swallow and some chest pains. I've also lost 10 pounds unintentionally in the last 2 months but I should follow that by saying I have also had to have 3 teeth removed so I don't know exactly what has caused the weight loss. But in the last 10 days I have lost 2 lb. I don't know if it's anxiety causing reflux symptoms or what but I'm pretty much terrified to eat anything. I'm just so terrified I have esophageal cancer. I have pretty bad anxiety and hypochondria.My doctor switched me to Protonix a couple of days ago and prescribed me Carafate... I took a lot of Ibuprofen when I had the teeth removed so I think she thinks it's an ulcer. Today I had a gallbladder test which I don't know the results yet. I'm seeing an ENT tomorrow and a GI doctor on the 14th. Meanwhile I can't stop Googling my symptoms and thinking I'm going to die of esophageal cancer and leave three little kids. Please help! Is it normal to have a little bit of swallowing pain in your right shoulder blade.? I also have the right shoulder pain whether I swallow or not just on and off during the day and some chest pain. I don't choke on food but I do feel like sometimes I need liquids to get some down. I've had 3 indice endoscopies but not in 4 years. I had a barium swallow Test 2 years ago. As you can see I have battled GERD and such for a long time. But this is the most scared I've ever been of esophageal cancer because I've never had the shoulder thing. I also recently had an upper respiratory infection and after 12 days my voice is still hoarse so I don't know if it's from that or what. Every symptom seems to terrify me these days. Any advice would be greatly appreciated since we are supposed to go on a family vacation day after tomorrow. Thanks ??

0 likes, 13 replies

Report

13 Replies

  • Posted

    I think that the reassuring thing is that over the years you have been seen at the hospital and have had the various tests.   I think that oesophageal adenocarcinoma is indeed associated with reflux but there is normally a long lead time that involved developing Barrett's oesophagus as a precursor condition.   But even with Barrett's oesophagus there is a low risk of cancer;  it all depends on whether there is dysplasia.   And dysplasia can be treated nowadays with radio frequency ablation that can stop the cancer developing.

    ?When you change medication all sorts of side effects can get triggered, and pain can get transferred through the nerve system so that you feel it in a different place from where the underlying problem is.

    Report Reply
    • Posted

      Thank you so much for taking the time to reply! I appreciate it. I have now gone a little over 3 years without an endoscopy so that's why I'm worried because I know cancer can grow way faster than 3 years. And why would Prevacid all of a sudden stopped working? Is it common to have shoulder blade pain with esophageal cancer? At first I had it with just swallowing but now it seems like I randomly have it a lot. I can't tell if it's muscular or deeper inside. What is dysplasia? I'm hoping my ENT can help me this afternoon. I did have a CT of the chest for something else in September... Would that have shown any cancer in my esophagus? Again thank you!

      Report Reply
  • Posted

    Also would have barium swallow show esophageal cancer? I'm absolutely terrified of endoscopy and wondered if I could just get by with the barium? I would really appreciate feedback!

    Report Reply
    • Posted

      I do not think a barium swallow test would show cancer unless there was a large tumour there, and it does not sound like that is so in your case.   An endoscopy would take samples for biopsy but might see visual evidence of a tumour.

      ​Is it the endoscopy procedure that bothers you - or is it a question of what they  might find?   If you have the endoscopy and it is all clear, think of the reassurance you would feel!

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Thank you so much for your reply! I was hoping I could get by with just a barium swallow. I'm terrified of the endoscopy because of the risk of perforation. And I hate being put to sleep. I really do want to know but I am a little scared to find out. I'm hoping I don't have esophageal cancer at 36 but I just feel like I have all the symptoms.

      Report Reply
    • Posted

      I understand.   I myself was worried about perforation because I had suffered a ruptured oesophagus before and had had a very bleak time recovering (the injury was from vomiting rather than from an endoscopy) but I was reassured by the doctor and I have had a couple of endoscopies since that time without any trouble.   It is relatively easy to rationalise things when you are not the one involved!
      Report Reply
    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply! I'm so sorry about your ruptured esophagus! I have an irrational fear cuz I've never had one but that's scary that you had one from just vomiting. Glad to hear that you had uncomplicated endoscopies. I guess I'm going to have to get one but I am terrified.

      Report Reply
  • Posted

    I know it’s been awhile. Did you ever find out what was causing your symptoms? I have the same ones I’m 37 and terrified I have esophageal cancer. I have all the same symptoms. I’ve had acid reflux issues for 10 years now. And just had a endoscopy 10 months ago and the doctor said everything was normal aside from very mild gastritis
    Report Reply
    • Posted

      Gastritis is a general term that describes irritation of the lining of the stomach, amongst other things, that can often be sorted out by medication.   If you had been suffering from cancer the endoscopy should have found it, so I think you have every reason to feel very relieved and your fear allayed.   I hope your gastritis clears up.  Ironically, anxiety ca make this worse, so if you can feel more relaxed and less fearful (which I now is easier said than done) it would help, perhaps by trying some form of relaxation therapy.
      Report Reply
    • Posted

      I’ve had mild chronic  gastritis for 10 years and can never figure out what’s causing it. I don’t take Tylenol or any other medications I don’t drink that often or smoke and it never goes away. 
      Report Reply
    • Posted

      If you have not been to see your GP recently about this, I would book an appointment.

      Things you might consider are:  diet, lifestyle, stress, allergies etc.   They might give you a test for gastric conditions like helicobacter pylori.   And might well offer you medication that helps relieve it. 

      Report Reply
  • Posted

    Whoa.  Slow down.   You mention multiple endoscopies.  Are we to assume that biopsies were done at the time showing no cancer?  If so, why the jump to fear of esophogeal cancer?

    I have GERD newly diagnosed and have been medicated for it the last 8 weeks.  I know it's still there...just the acid content has been neutralized  And yes, I recently lost my brother-in-law to esophogeal cancer, so I am focused on this disease and a little fearful under the circumstances. So I will take the next step to endoscopy and try to put it out of my mind until the worst case has bene ruled out.  Maybe you need to do that same?  

    Report Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New Discussion Reply

Report as inappropriate

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.