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Source: A Manual Of Peroral Endoscopy And Laryngeal Surgery

Malignant disease of the esophagus is rarely seen early,
because of the absence, or mildness, of the symptoms. Dysphagia, the
one common symptom of all esophageal disease, is often ignored by the
patient until it becomes so marked as to prevent the taking of solid
food; therefore, the onset may have the similitude of abruptness. Any
well masticated solid food can be swallowed through a lumen 5
millimeters in diameter. The inability to maintain the nutrition is
evidenced by loss of weight and the rapid development of cachexia.
When the stenosis becomes so severe that the fluid intake is limited,
rapid decline occurs from water starvation. Pain is usually a late
symptom of the disease. It may be of an aching character and referred
to the vertebral region or to the neck; or it may only accompany the
act of swallowing. Blood-streaked, regurgitated material, and the
presence of odor, are late manifestations of ulceration and secondary
infection. In some cases, constant oozing of blood from the ulcerated
area adds greatly to the cachexia. If the recurrent laryngeal nerves
are involved, unilateral or bilateral paralysis of the larynx may
complicate the symptoms by cough, dyspnea, aphonia, and possibly
septic pneumonia.

Next: Diagnosis

Previous: Malignant Disease Of The Esophagus

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