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A member asked:

Can esophageal cancer spread to supraclavicular lymph nodes without causing any symptoms?

4 doctor answers12 doctors weighed in
Dr. Arthur Heller
Gastroenterology 44 years experience
Sadly yes: Esophagus is a muscular tube that can stretch, so often no symptoms until it can't . Also has no outer membrane surrounding it so easier to spread outside the organ itself.
Dr. Christopher Morse
Thoracic Surgery 23 years experience
Unfortunately yes: Supraclavicular lymph node spread is possible with out symptoms from the primary tumor. Supraclavicular lymph node metastasis does not preclude treatment, but likely rules out surgery.
Dr. Lawrence Hochman
Radiation Oncology 32 years experience
Yes: Esophageal cancer can go unnoticed for a while. I have seen patients present with very advanced disease without a long course of symptoms. Supraclavicular lymph nodes without a clear explanation need to be evaluated carefully. A number of tumors can spread to the supraclavicular nodes including lung, esophagus, stomach and ovarian cancers.
Dr. David Cooke
Thoracic Surgery 23 years experience
Yes: The symptom is the inability to swallow food or liquid comfortably. Esophageal cancer is generally circumferential, like a doughnut. The hole or the lumen becomes smaller as the cancer grows, making it difficult for food and then liquid to pass through. However, that hole can be as small as 6mm in diameter before symptoms appear. So esophageal ca often has no symptoms.

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Last updated Feb 17, 2019
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