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help with diagnosis

Posts: 1
Joined: Jun 2002

I was wondering if someone could share their story with me of how they were diagnosed with esophageal cancer. My husband has had a lump inside his esophagus for 2 and a half months now. At first he could only feel it when he swallowed, but now he feels it all the time. His first doctor told him he had mono, the second said it was acid reflux and put him on medication, and the third is now sending him to a gastroentonologist, but the lump is still not going away. He just wants someone to look at the lump, and he now even spits up blood. Next week he will be going to his forth doctor, but no one seems willing to run any tests. I was just wondering if anyone had any suggestions on what we should do???
Thank you!!

Posts: 10
Joined: Apr 2002

I do not mean to be an alarmist but I would go immediately to the gastroenterologist and insist on having an endoscope and biopsy of the lump. SOON!! You need to get an accurate diagnosis of what is going on rather than just 'guessing' based on history & symptoms. I was 'bounced' around from physician to physician as your husband is with the same types of repsonses. If the first doctor I saw (substituting for my GP) had not mentioned doing an endoscope (if the RX strength Zantac did not yield any improvement) I would never have thought to eventually ask my GP about doing an endoscope. This was after having gone to a walk-in clinic and the ER (both times due to pain)in the meantime. Both interim visits were initially treated as possible coronary events due to the nature and location of the pain. Both times that was ruled out and the thing that alleviated my discomfort was a Maalox & Lidocaine 'cocktail'. I am not suggesting it is cancer in your husband's case but my endoscope showed that I had a golf ball sized tumor at the esophageal/gastric junction. Although I was frequently in intense pain I do not remember ever bleeding. I urge you to insist on an endoscope for your husband. It is not a huge expense and the procedure should be fairly easy. In my case, I was sedated and also given a drug/spray to relax my throat to lessen the gag reflex. A narrow tube with a camera is inserted into the esophagus and stomach through the mouth to view the condition and a small tissue sample can be taken if anything out of the ordinary is found. Due to the sedation I do not remember much of anything about the actual exam and woke up in recovery feeling nothing worse than just a bit groggy.
If the gastroenterologist will not agree to the test, find a doctor who will.
I hope that you get positive news & best wishes for you and your husband.

Posts: 10
Joined: Apr 2002

Have you and your husband made any progress yet in obtaining an accurate diagnosis of his condition? I have been thinking of you both often since first reading your email and time is of the essence! Please let me know if there is anything else you would like to ask me, thanks. I hope all is well for you both.

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