Difficulty in swallowing on attempted initiation of swallowing and can occur at any stage of the swallowing process. A symptom that is more common than appreciated and can be due to many causes. Carcinoma of the oesophagus/
cardia, for example, is the most common cause in the older age group for adults.
- There is progressive dysphagia with weight loss.
- The presence of regurgitation suggests a cardia lesion.
- Patients tend to be wasted in the late stages with associated dehydration.
- Barium swallow, oesophagoscopy and biopsy.
- Staging with abdominal ultrasound, CT scan and other endoscopic techniques.
- Investigate the patient, including barium swallow and endoscopy if able at facility.
- Initiate intubation or stenting.
- Carry out surgical resection or,
- Conduct curative surgery for early disease and palliative measures (including palliative surgery) for later disease.
- Administer radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
- Counsel the patient and relatives; it is important that they understand the prognosis of the disease from the onset.