Are there early signs of needing a stretch?

Hi there all of you that have had a stretch. What were the symptoms before you had it done?

As I have noticed recently that I am getting some pain (only mild) when I swallow dryish things like toast or biscuits. Haven't had a problem up to now, it's 19 months since my Ivor Lewis and I'm due back for a check up/scan in January. I was thinking that it may be at the joint where they stitched me back together but is this "normal". I have to add that I have still got a 'dormant' tumor in the same sort of area that they blasted with chemo and radiotherapy last June and thats what they will be looking at in January.

Any ideas? I will be speaking to my specialist tomorrow in any case but just thought I would scan any others for ideas.



10 Replies

  • Dear Colin

    The stretch is usually for dealing with scar tissue or some other reason for the oesophagus becoming too narrow, and very often it is at the surgical joint. The food does not go down from the 'oesophagus' into the stomach properly - or at all. In my own case, the food had been resting too long before going through into the stomach and a 'pouch' had developed, but mine was not an oesophagectomy case so you should not take much notice of me in that respect. I think that people who have stretches often would have had the problem before the stage that you are at now, but I stand to be corrected.

    I think that you are right to speak to your specialist as soon as you possibly can because they will always pay great attention when a patient notices any changes. I always think that it pays to be on the safe side with these things and if possible I would ask for the January investigation to be brought forward. On one hand it is not all sorts of food that seem to be causing the trouble; on the other if something is creating a swelling or constriction, the sooner you can get it sorted out the better. Which does not mean that it will be serious, just that living with uncertainty is best avoided if possible.

  • Thanks for that Alan, I will be having a word with them tomorrow in any case and see what they say.

    Cheers Colin

  • Hi Colin

    I was having a few problems a couple of years ago, but it turned out that my oesophagus was plenty wide enough. It was just food catching on the scar tissue, I have had no problems since. I hope this helps.

    Kind Regards


  • Thats what I am hoping for but you never know, thats why I was canvassing opinions but will still get it checked out.

    Cheers Colin

  • Hi Colin,

    I had this problem with food sticking and a bit of pain at the new join, I had 3 stretches in total, in a period from about 12 months to 26 month after surgery.

    All clear after the last one and problem has not returned since, now 5 years out from surgery.

    Very quick and easy endoscopy procedure, so nothing to worry about.

    Best regards,


  • Hi there Dave, thanks for that. It's what i am hoping for but as I had notice of another tumor that is in the same sort of area but not changing I was getting a bit concerned. I will know more once I have seen the specialsts, it's just that not knowing bit beforehand that gets me down. I hope to get to see one soonest and will post a note soon after.

    Cheers Colin

  • Hi Colin, I had swallowing problems, mentioned it on my first 3 month visit, they put a camera down my throat straight away. It was scar tissue causing the problem and I was told to eat smaller mouthfuls and chew longer, never had a problem since:) Doctor was happy with what he had seen and put me on 6 monthly visits.

    All the best


  • Thanks Mark, it looks like I have been fairly lucky till now then as this has only come on recently. It did feel a bit tight for a few days then this pain started. Today however is better so I will try your method anyway but still get it checked out, Just need to pin down the specialist now.



  • I had the Ivor Lewis Oesophagectomy done 7 years ago and needed 6 dilatations of the join within the 1st year then everything was ok until recently when i started having problems swallowing again. It turned out that i needed another dilatation. Since i had that done in June i have had an OGD again but i didn't need another dilatation as yet but i have been told that i can phone up and book one if my swallowing gets bad again.

  • Hi there Christine,

    just replied to Mark on this subject so I won't repeat all but just to say thanks for the reply and if I can get booked in to have it done it may not be a problem after all. It's just that when you feel these changes, you don't know straight away what it is likely to be. It's like my ribcage, which I hadn't noticed until I was in the gym the other day, I have a bit sticking out on my right side where they cut me open. I guess the ribs didn't join properly. I didn't notice it and now I know why I have a few twinges if I sit in my armchair like I used to do, it comes on gradually but is eased by changing to a different position.

    However well done on 7 years and counting, lets hope for many more for all of us.

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