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Esophageal Cancer

Swollen throat and choking

06/22/2007

Question:

I have currently seen a specialist for tinnitus. During the visit the doctor examined my throat and found that it was swollen inside. This finding led to a Barium swallow test. I started choking on the liquid portion of the test. I told the technician I often choke on food and liquid. I also told her that I seem to have this constant phlegm or mucus in my throat (around my epiglottis area) that I can never entirely get rid of. The technician said it looked like my swallowing was okay (but noted it went down very fast), and the fact that I choked on the liquid portion of the test in her prescence told her that I probably get food or liquid caught in that area more often than most people. The only advice she could give me was that I may have weak neck muscles (could be, I had a thyroidectomy about 3 - 4 years ago) and that I should take smaller bites of food and smaller drinks of liquid. findings on this test. I have mentioned this mucus problem (including constant minor soar throat) to other doctors with not much response, other than the usual allergy possibility (I do have allergies). I plan to see my regular physician again to discuss it further. I am choking on food and liquid more and more often. It is beginning to scare me. Can you think of any possible reasons why my epiglottis is not working properly? The phlegm or mucus is in my throat, but could it also be in my air pipe interfering with my epiglottis? Every morning it is a battle to clear my throat to take my medications and most often it feels like the pills are stuck in my throat. I think clearing my throat could be causing the swelling of my throat. It also seems to get on my vocal cords and I have a hard time talking. Is there any kind of medication I can take to clear up the mucus? Any foresight you can give me to share with my doctor will be greatly appreciated.

Answer:

Though you are having problems in your throat, you have mentioned no symptoms that suggest esophageal cancer.

You should see an ENT specialist first and then could have an upper endoscopy if needed.

For more information:

Go to the Esophageal Cancer health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Malek  Safa, MD Malek Safa, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati