5+ year survivor now having choking issues

Hi, this is my first post here.  I had oesopohageal cancer in 2012, and got the 5 year all clear this year.  Over the past week I have experinced a few episodes of choking after eating.  I feel the food is not getting down my oesophagus and is sitting there and then I am inhaling it.  Very scary experiences as really can't breathe when happens.

I had the Ivor Lewis procedure and Chemo.  I have had a pretty good run, I do not get reflux and am able to eat what I like.  I do not eat quickly and only small meals and this has been constant since surgery.  As I said this new occurence of choking after eating is very new, and something I have not had before.

Has anyone on here had this happen to them, I will mention it to my Doctor, but am I reading too much into this.  As I said before, have never had this happen before, but am getting it checked out, but would love it to be some other issue, which someone on here might have experienced.

Thanks for being here,

By the way I am 64 and an Australian.




  • paul61
    paul61 Member Posts: 1,388 Member
    I sometimes have that issue 8 years after surgery

    Hello Chrissy,

    I had my esophagectomy eight years ago, and from time to time I don’t quite swallow well enough to get a bite of food down. Then I try to swallow another bite of food behind the one that did not go completely down yet, and I end up coughing and choking and inhale some food particles. I seem to have more trouble with some kinds of food. Things like rice, pasta, and meat that is dense and dry like chicken or pork. I have learned to take a small sip of liquid after I am done chewing to help me move things down when I am eating foods that are difficult for me to swallow.

    I think the difference between what I experience and someone who needs a dilation of their stomaphagus is that in my case the food tends to get stuck at the top of my throat rather than farther down my throat. When I do have a coughing and choking event it tells me that I am eating too fast and not being mindful about insuring that I have successfully swallowed a bite of food before I take my next bite.

    I do have an annual endoscopy as part of my medical follow up process. If your choking issue becomes more frequent or is of concern you may want to consider an exploratory endoscopy just to make sure things are open but it sounds like it may just be food not fully swallowed and it sounds like the food stuck is quickly cleared.

    Best Regards,

    Paul Adams

    McCormick, South Carolina

    DX 10/2009 T2N1M0  Stage IIB - Ivor Lewis Surgery  12/3/2009
    Post Surgery Chemotherapy 2/2009 – 6/2009 Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
    Eight Year Survivor

    Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!



  • IMODad
    IMODad Member Posts: 3
    edited December 2017 #3
    I 100% would second

    I 100% would second everything Paul said. 

    What Paul described is very similar to what my father had experienced at the beginning. He had to have a dilation procedure done,which helped initially. 
    From what we understood, dilation necessity is not exclusive to head and neck cancers and is fairly common. So it could be something not directly related. 

    My father did end up having other issues beyond this, but it is attributed to his initial procedures a few months prior (neck dissection and tracheotomy).
    I would feel it is at least worth a good discussion with your care provider to assess the situations and contributing factors so that you can better address it and perhaps if nothing else manage the distress it causes when it happens.