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The esophagus is the tube that carries food from your throat to your stomach. An esophageal tumor can appear anywhere along the lining inside the esophagus.

As the tumor grows into the esophageal muscle, it can spread to nearby organs, including the throat and stomach (metastasize). Esophageal cancer cells found in distant parts of the body are diagnosed as stage IV esophageal cancer.

Esophageal cancer is the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. It is a rare type of cancer and makes up 1% of cancer deaths in the United States. Men are three times more likely than women to be diagnosed with esophageal cancer. The risk increases over age 45.


The cause of esophageal cancer is unknown. Risk factors include smoking, alcoholism, drinking very hot coffee or tea, obesity, acid reflux (GERD), esophagitis (irritation caused by acid), Barrett's esophagus, poor diet that lacks fruits and vegetables.

Symptoms of esophageal cancer

Early symptoms are usually non-existent or mild and may include dry throat, hoarse voice, frequently clearing your throat, and mild weight loss.

As the disease progresses, symptoms include throat pain and difficulty swallowing, food coming back up, choking on food, chest pain, unexplained weight loss, swollen neck glands, dry cough, coughing up blood or vomiting.

Other symptoms include:

  • Indigestion
  • Passing gas (flatulence)
  • Bloating abdomen
  • Belching
  • Heartburn
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic cough
  • Hiccups
  • Diagnosing esophageal cancer

    Tests for diagnosing esophageal cancer include endoscopy, barium swallow, biopsy, CT scan or PET scan.


    Chemotherapy or radiation therapy are standard treatments to shrink tumors. Doctors may also recommend surgery to remove tumors if the tumors are small and haven't spread from the original site.


    The prognosis for esophageal cancer is good with early detection and prompt treatment.

    This has been your Medical Minute.

    Any medical information published on this blog is for your general information only and is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. You should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider. and its affiliates cannot be held liable for any damages incurred by following information found on this blog.

    C Flanigan/FilmMagic

    Rapper and music producer Dr. Dre suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm that landed him in an ICU at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

    Most people who suffer a brain aneurysm have no symptoms until the aneurysm ruptures, causing bleeding in the brain.

    Dr. Guillermo Linares, associate professor of neurology at St. Louis University, explained a brain aneurysm to FOx2Now.

    "What a brain aneurysm is it's an abnormality in one of the [blood] vessels, the wall of the vessel in the brain. It is an area of weakness," he said. "This area of weakness allows for a small blister or pouch to develop and because, it's weaker, it has a tendency to rupture."

    Dr. Linares, who didn't treat Dre, added: "When it ruptures, the high pressure with the blood inside the artery, pushes the blood out and it can cause brain damage. I think in lucky cases the bleeding stops right away and the only thing one would experience is a very severe headache."

    Dr. Linares said anti-hypertensive medicine to control high blood pressure and avoid smoking can prevent brain aneurysms from rupturing.

    "Those two things are the biggest modifiable risk that will probably prevent an aneurysm from rupturing."

    Linares says there are warning signs to look for.

    "So, the sudden onset of the worst headache of someone's life," he said. "Especially if accompanied by a difficulty with speaking or weakness in an arm or leg or an asymmetry in the face, should prompt a 911 call right away."

    Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a draft of possible side effects from the still experimental Covid-19 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine (link opens PDF).

    The terrifying list looks like something out of a horror movie script. The scariest side effect (other than death) is disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).

    In my 30+ years as a registered nurse I've only witnessed two patients suffering from DIC. Both patients died within hours.

    DIC is the singular most horrific medical condition I've ever witnessed. Basically, DIC interrupts the body's normal clotting function and the patient bleeds from every orifice, including the eyes, nose and mouth.

    Blood transfusions are pointless because of the lack of clotting factors. So the blood transfusions go into the veins and pour out through the nose, ears, eyes, vagina, anus -- even the pores in the skin ooze blood.

    The following is a draft of possible adverse reactions to the mRNA vaccine.

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    Getty Images

    Clubbing of the fingers means the ends of the fingers are bulging, soft and sometimes reddened with wide, distorted fingernails that slope downward and are shaped like small spoons.

    Photo may have been deleted

    very well health

    If you notice clubbing of the fingers, you should contact your doctor or a health provider because it could be a sign of a serious health problem.

    There are two types of clubbed fingers: primary (hereditary), which means a lifelong clubbed appearance of the fingers that is not associated with any health problems.

    The other type is called secondary clubbing, which causes a gradual change in the appearance of your fingers and toes over a short period of time.

    What causes secondary clubbing?

    Secondary clubbing is always a sign of a serious health problem and you should contact a doctor or healthcare provider.

    Secondary clubbing of the fingers is usually a sign of a chronic respiratory/lung disease or heart disease.

    This sign is also associated with a number of medical conditions that can be harmful that involve the thyroid or digestive system.

    The condition occurs because of decreased oxygen levels which causes changes in the tiny blood vessels in the body in response to low oxygen and shows up significantly in the fingers.

    The bulging in fingertips is associated with inflammation and the growth of tiny blood vessels and soft tissue in the fingers.

    Risk factors associated with clubbing include:

  • Lung cancer
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Lung abscess
  • Tuberculosis
  • Pulmonary lymphoma
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Infective endocarditis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Graves' disease
  • Overactive thyroid gland

    Diagnosis to Assess Underlying Conditions

    Primary clubbing of the fingers is harmless. Secondary clubbing of the fingers will require diagnostic tests.

    The tests include:

    1. Physical examination

    2. A pulse oximeter (pulse ox) to measure the oxygen levels in your blood

    3. Pulmonary function tests to measure your lung capacity

    4. Arterial blood gas, a blood test to measure your 02 level

    5. Chest X-ray or chest computerized tomography (CT)

    6. Electrocardiogram (EKG) or echocardiogram to assess your heart function

    7. Blood tests, including complete blood count (CBC), electrolytes, liver function test, and thyroid test

    This has been your Medical Minute.

    More Info On the Web

    Clubbing of Fingers | very well health

    Clubbing of the Fingers or Toes - Healthline

    Clubbing of fingers - Mayo Clinic


    Any medical information published on this blog is for your general information only and is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. You should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider. and its affiliates cannot be held liable for any damages incurred by following information found on this blog.

    Election anxiety

    The mental health community reported a rise in stress disorder cases long before Donald Trump was elected 45th president of these United States of America.

    Doctors saw a spike in stress-related phone calls the morning after Trump was elected.

    There are different levels of stress disorders ranging from mild anxiety, Acute Stress Disorder (ASD), to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    Election anxiety

    Read more »

    Serena Williams dry skin

    Your breath, skin, and muscles may be telling you that your body is dehydrated.

    Many people who are dehydrated have no idea until their bodies begin to show signs and symptoms of dehydration.

    This is probably the case with tennis superstar Serena Williams, pictured above in Milan, Italy, this week.

    Read more »

    Cushing Syndrome

    Moon face is a medical abnormality caused by large fat deposits in the face, back or abdomen. It is a sign usually associated with Cushing's or Cushing syndrome.

    Cushing's Syndrome is a group of related signs and symptoms caused by prolonged exposure to medications (glucocorticoids) such as Prednisone and Hydrocortisone (Cortisol) or a tumor such as tumors of the pituitary or adrenal glands.

    Read more »

    HIV seroconversion symptoms

    You're a gay or bisexual man (or a biological woman) with an active sex life. You meet a man at a club one night and you both decide to have sex in the club parking lot.

    About 3 weeks later, you experience flu-like symptoms. You feel feverish, your throat is sore and you have difficulty swallowing. You also feel aches and pains in your joints and you experience night sweats that drench your bed linen.

    Read more »

    American doctor sick with Ebola

    An American doctor is sick with the deadly Ebola virus which has killed 670 people so far in Africa. Two American aid workers also fell ill with the disease. One died.

    According to published reports, the National Guard and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta are quietly preparing for an Ebola outbreak in America.

    Read more »

    There's a small spot on your tongue that doesn't seem to go away. You noticed it months ago but it's painless so you didn't get it checked out until you visited your dentist for a routine teeth cleaning.

    The dentist examines the area and then performs a few diagnostic tests. He suspects that you might have oral cancer but you will need a biopsy to confirm his suspicions. Your dentist makes an appointment for you to see a cancer specialist.

    Most of the time those tiny white or red spots in your mouth are harmless. But you will never know for sure unless you get regular dental checkups at least twice a year.

    Someone dies from oral or tongue cancer every hour. Oral cancer accounts for about 9,000 deaths a year, according to the American Dental Association. Oral cancer has the worst 5-year survival rate of all cancers because it is rarely diagnosed early.

    Harmful oral spots or sores often look identical to those that are harmless, but testing can tell them apart.1

    Oral cancer usually affects men and people over 40. But over the past decade there has been an increase in patients diagnosed with oral cancer. This is probably because more teens are smoking cigarettes and the legalization of marijuana in some states.

    African-Americans are especially vulnerable to oral cancer; the incidence rate is 1/3 higher than whites and the mortality rate is almost twice as high.2


    Poor dental hygiene, drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco or weed puts you at a higher risk for developing oral cancer. Prolonged exposure to the sun increases your risk of developing lip cancer.

    On average, only half of those diagnosed with oral cancer will survive more than five years.3

    Signs and Symptoms

    What you should look for:

  • Tiny red or whitish spots anywhere inside your mouth or lips
  • Rough, flat, raised, cracked or crusty areas in your mouth or on your lips
  • A color change in the tissue of your mouth
  • A sore in your mouth that doesn't heal, or bleeds easily
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together
  • Changes in your voice or hoarseness
  • Prevention and Detection

    The best way to prevent oral cancer is to maintain proper oral hygiene (brushing and floss your teeth after every meal), avoid tobacco and alcohol use and get regular dental check-ups. Also, eating more fruits and vegetables per day reduces your risk.

    Taking one Aspirin per day has been shown to greatly reduce your risk of oral cancer. As well as drinking green tea daily.4

    Get your teeth cleaned by a professional dental hygienist at least once every 6 months. Dental hygienists are trained to look for signs of cancer.


    Treatment includes surgical removal of the lesion or tumor, a radical neck dissection (if the tumor spreads to the lymph nodes in your neck), radiation and chemotherapy.

    This has been your Medical Minute.

    More Info On the Web

    Oral Cancer -

    Oral Cancer Early Detection -

    Dr. Joe Lester - General Dentistry

    Atlanta Dental Center - Hi-tech Cosmetic Dentistry


    Any medical information published on this blog is for your general information only and is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice. You should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider. and its affiliates cannot be held liable for any damages incurred by following advice found on this blog.