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PhilJG 01-03-2009 09:01 PM

Advice re GERD/Esophageal cancer symptoms
Hi all

Just hoping that I can get some advice and peace of mind about my symptoms. I have an appointment with my doctor next week but this is worrying me a bit.

I have had a persistent cough for about a month, mainly after eating. I also had a mough ulcer right at the back of throat during that time that may have helped to irritate things. I do suffer a bit from indigestion and acid reflux but never enough to bother me. I had gastritis last year which was cleared after a short spell on medication.

After some research online I have come to the conclusion that GERD is the problem. The cough is generally dry but I do get the feeling of a bit of a lump at the back of my throat at times when swallowing. I suffer from wind a lot too and seem to spend half my time belching. I think I have a bit of a head cold for the past few weeks that I am not shaking which might also be confusing the dry cough symptoms.

I know the recommendations are to eat smaller portions, eat more slowly and lose weight, (I have gradually gone from about 200lbs to about 250lbs over the past 5 years).

The reason I worry is that my grandmother passed away from esophageal cancer aged 78 and my mother died from the same illness aged 46. I am only 29 and I know from research that this form of cancer is very rare in people under 50 and even rarer in those under 40.

Are all my symptoms common enough to GERD and am I worrying more than necessary? :dizzy:

PS, I also have some milid back pain near the shoulder blade, which again sometimes points to cancer, or is this also common with GERD?

Em55 01-04-2009 12:34 AM

Re: Advice re GERD/Esophageal cancer symptoms
Hi Phil, I cant answer all your questions seeing i was just diagnosed with GERD. The pain inbetween the shoulder blades is very common for Gerd. My doctor even mentioned and was aware that that is one of the symptons and she explained it was connected to a nerve or muscle that is near the stomach, blah blah blah, anyways yes it is.

I wouldnt over worry about the cancer. You probably just have Gerd. Stress is produces acid so try to not to stress over it(easier said than done i know)

Good luck, let us know how the doctors go.!

PhilJG 01-04-2009 01:51 AM

Re: Advice re GERD/Esophageal cancer symptoms
Yeah, I've just spent a long night shift reading up on things.

I think it's just the family history of esophageal cancer that worries me.

Will likely be referred for an endoscopy by the GP next week.

PhilJG 01-05-2009 02:09 AM

Re: Advice re GERD/Esophageal cancer symptoms
I also have a bad sore throat at the minute and I am very stressed out, working 2 jobs and planning a wedding, which is bringing a lot of family strife along with it.

I feel bad complaining though, my symptoms although worrying, seem very mild compared to what others here are suffering. My indigestion is mild, I feel little acid reflux and the cough is usually only after eating.

cajunland 01-05-2009 04:27 AM

Re: Advice re GERD/Esophageal cancer symptoms
Hello, Phil

Just wanted to let you know "it is so hard to worry", it's just human nature I reckon. I've got bronchitis and need to have a hysterectomy, but will wait about 4-6 more weeks to be sure I am fully recovered, you know.

My husband has GERD, acid reflex and was about a week later diagnosed with a hiatel hernia, so all at the same time, wow you say. Yeah, that was "hard to swallow" for all of us. But the little things in our changes of lifestyle have made the big differences.

He's now on Prilosec for the rest of his life, no heavy lifting restrictions of course also. They did an upper Gi and sent off 4 biopsies from his stomach, thought he had "ulcers", tests came back no ulcers, just inflammation in the stomach wall. We must all trust God to interfere and to give the drs. his hands for these tests and for their
decisions to help us, but often thru it all "we must also help ourselves". Sometimes we are just doomed , doomed.

But we will get over it all. Each circumstance is different.
They also took a lot of stomach pictures, no cancer, thank God. That hiatel hernia will cause the esophageal trouble in the throat also.

I have just found out: and believe it or not: I have sinus polyps and nostril polyps (always have had sinus trouble with my asthma since age 2 diagnosed, now I am age 47),
well ct scan of sinuses also showed I have some throat
polyps, I would have to get a copy of the dr. report to tell you the name of the polyps but sometimes I also have some "swallowing trouble", but everythings "not cancer" our primary concern, of course. So we both are "leaving all else alone" and just being happy, being healthy, being together, praising God daily, daily as we walk with him".

May you feel better also and know that "Let Go and Let God" the name of a fabulous book at the library is available to all of us, I suggest you spread it to others as well. You also will enjoy it. May God bless you!


PhilJG 01-05-2009 04:35 AM

Re: Advice re GERD/Esophageal cancer symptoms
[QUOTE=cajunland;3838292]So we both are "leaving all else alone" and just being happy, being healthy, being together, praising God daily, daily as we walk with him".[/QUOTE]

Funny thing is, yesterday I came off a night shift on Sunday morning, (I'm in Ireland by the way in case the talk of mornings and evenings is confusing), and was too tired to go to church but I forced myself to go anyway.

And guess what the pastor was speaking about? Fear, and how we shouldn't give in to it or be affected by it whether it's fear of poverty/unemployment in the recession, [B][U]fear of illness like cancer etc[/U][/B], or fears of what people think of us. Quite fitting I thought!

But even with a blatent hint from God like that it's still hard to not worry about things. Feeling a lot more confident now though and if the worst comes to the worst, I know He is in control.

Kassie29 01-06-2009 07:26 AM

Re: Advice re GERD/Esophageal cancer symptoms
Make sure you get an endoscopy. There is a genetic component to esophageal cancer, and the fact that both your mother and grandmother had it is reason enough to get the endoscopy, even without having any symptoms. There are pre-cancerous cell changes that occur -- a condition called Barrett's esophagus. If you catch it early, there are procedures that can be done to stop it from progressing. I have esophageal cancer in my family too and got an endoscopy when I started experiencing acid reflux symptoms. I have since learned that everyone who has a first degree relative with esophageal cancer should have the scope. Mine turned out to be fine -- no Barretts, no cancer, just some gastritis for which I take Nexium. The chances are very good that your test will be fine too. Only a small number of people with GERD symptoms actually have Barretts or worse. But you should be checked to be sure.

PhilJG 01-06-2009 09:01 AM

Re: Advice re GERD/Esophageal cancer symptoms
Just back from my doctor. He actually advised [B]against [/B]the scope. He felt that the fact that I had gained about 30 lbs in the past 2 years and the fact that I had been under huge stress throughout December meant that a dose of lanzoprazol and a reduction in both stress and weight should help. If these things did not bring any improvement [B]then [/B]he said he would refer me for an endoscopy.

Fortunately, my fiance and I both work in the hospital and she was able to pull some strings for me so I have an endoscopy booked for tomorrow at 1:30!

I agree in a way with the doc. I have piled on a lot of weight, (and I know that one of the warning signs of esophageal cancer is an unexplained weight [B]loss[/B]). I eat a lot of spicy food in large quantities, all of which I have to deal with from here on in and it could well explain my problems.

However, with the family history, the scope will certainly not do any harm, and it will give peace of mind. The fact that my symptoms are so mild, (compared to some here), I am only 29 and there are so many other possible causes, (stress, poor diet, weight) mean that I feel it is highly unlikely that I have anything to worry about but like I say, no harm in looking!

cajunland 01-06-2009 11:56 AM

Re: Advice re GERD/Esophageal cancer symptoms
Yes, I do understand. My husband and I are both age 47 and our #1 priority is to "take care of our health". Dan has 13 illnesses and I have 19, but we will "make it with strength from our lord".

Yes, peace of mind is of utmost importance that is for sure. And checkups never hurt a thing. In 2000 I had "irritable bowel snydrome" colon trouble diagnosis from a routine colonospoctomy.
Course, my mother had adenocarinoma in her colon, colon cancer and grandmother also but grandmother died 10 years later of 3 hours heart failure, so it is in my family. But in 2008 when we both did our routine colonostomies "my irritable bowel snydrome" is all gone. So I have "been healed".

Course we must say, we do walk 1 hour each day, sometimes less sometimes more. Now with the winter can't walk as much, you know. But we have stopped "seasoned foods' it was hard for a while, I'm a Louisiana native but It was needed and so..we learn to adapt.

But the best advice from any doctor is "light exercise", good sleep and "eat good". Utmost is "eat balanced meals", maintain a schedule, same bedtime each night, etc..As we get older we have
to do it even more, follow these simple rules.

Raising our 4 children, I must say "mothers do not get enough sleep" but that was "our job back then". Now with an empty home, we can enjoy those 7 grandtreasures we have and let them return home..

So time brings changes for all of us , but we all must trust and obey.

I am sure your test will come out fine. Yes, Dan had a upper gastroscopy test done (EGD) and he was "spitting up some blood" at the time. Dr. suspected "ulcers" and they did perform 4 biopsies, sent them off, got results "no cancer", no ulcers , it was his "hiatel hernia". That put both of our minds to a lot of rest.

A week later we did upper gi series which showed the hiatel hernia.

THE KEY IS "HAVING AN UNDERSTANDING DOCTOR" AND ONE WHO "CARES". We have some terrific doctors and thank them so much. I just like the ones "who listen".

Sometimes it is best to be your "own physician" in a few days.
Our bodies seem to talk to us at times.

take care, We will be thinking of you in prayer.
Let us hear back from you. sincerely, cajunland Louisiana native
Liz and Dan

cajunland 01-06-2009 12:02 PM

Re: Advice re GERD/Esophageal cancer symptoms
Yes, fear as I wrote in an article a while back can be as small as
"being scared" to things just "escalating in our minds and when you have a mental illness as Dan and I can be a bit "overwhelming" at times. I have bi-polar disorder, depression and he has "depression" and we both have anxiety disorder so when
we get nervous we both do experience some "fear regardless".
And especially around "test time", it's just something that will always happen to me and we have adjusted the best we can to the
situation knowingly.

We always claim one particular scripture "We live by faith, not by sight". 2 Corinthians 5:7. Once this sinks in, it does help a lot.
God is good, he will never forsake us or leave us. We must hold on.

take care, cajunland

TEdds83 01-06-2009 09:42 PM

Re: Advice re GERD/Esophageal cancer symptoms
HI Cajunland! Just wanting to chime in about relying on the Lord. It's all I can do. I suffer from panic and anxiety disorder and acid reflux. Hmmm perhaps they are all linked together.

Tonight I went to a healing prayer meeting with my mom. She came and picked me up. I believe in the power of prayer. I went forward for prayer from one of the pastors. Everyone who came tonight was needing healing emotionally, physically or spiritually. I asked for prayer about my acid reflux and my endoscopy which is only 3 days away now. This Friday! I have never had one done. I just want God peace and protection over me as I am having this done. Actually I prayed for all of you on here tonight! Fod God's healing.

Thanks for being here! God is faithful!

PhilJG 01-09-2009 02:44 AM

Re: Advice re GERD/Esophageal cancer symptoms
Well, I had my scope done on Wednesday and all is clear!

I have a hiatus hernia, caused mainly by the fact that I am so overweight. My stomach and esophagus are clear of anything else unpleasant.

Great relief. Praise God, but my thoughts and prayers will continue with those here still worrying or unsure.

cajunland 01-10-2009 02:20 PM

Re: Advice re GERD/Esophageal cancer symptoms
Phil, what good news! Dan and I are glad to hear "all is well". Now you just have to adjust the eating issues to control the hiatel hernia problems that "come and go". Stay away from tomatoes, and don't eat after 6PM unless it's light, toast etc..and we have put our bed up at an elevated lean so our heads are up for digestion (recommended by the gastronologist-believe it or not) we had never heard of it in our lives. Now we love sleeping up in the air!
My children laugh at us (they are all grown and out of the home-of course). But the little things work. Dan is on RX Prilosec for the rest of his life. He's been doing great. Eating more smaller meals,
not rushing, taking time eating and chewing all food very well also.

You take care, stay in touch

remember me with my hysterectomy surgery coming up in a few weeks,
thanks Liz and Dan (cajunties)

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