Oesophageal Patients Association
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Lucky chance

For years I had suffered from mild dystonia, and I finally got to see a neurologist.

He gave me a prescription, and said to persevere with it, it would take a few weeks to start working.

But soon I was much worse, twitching and jerking all over including my mouth and tongue.

I went to my GP, but it was a young doctor temporally with our group,and when I told him I was having difficulty swallowing, he insisted on an endoscopy, and wouldn't listen to my explanation that it was the meds causing it.

A few days later I saw my usual GP, and the meds were stopped, All the nasty twitches stopped, and I could swallow normally.

But in the meantime the endoscopy had found cancer of the esophagus. It was T1N0M0, much too early have any symptoms, and wouldn't have been found in time but for that lucky chance.

6 Replies

We were in the same position. My husband was getting indigestion and asked for an endoscopy. They found that he had reflux but also a T1N0 cancer mid way unrelated to the reflux. No symptoms from the cancer at all.He kept being told that he was 'lucky' but struggled with this term as he has had an oesophagectomy 7 weeks ago and did not feel very lucky! Hope all goes well with your treatment.


Well done to the GPs!

Early diagnosis is so often the key to a good outcome, and also a good example of why endoscopy examinations ought to be carried our a bit more liberally that they are at the moment.


I second that Alan, after a couple of weeks having difficulty in swallowing, it suddenly came on, I thought it was probably an ulcer, I went to my GP and explained the symptoms, he gave me some tablets to take and said call back in 10 days if no improvement, I just felt his attitude was a bit cavalier, I persevered with the tablets but no improvement, I made another apt with my GP but was unable to see the original, I had the appointment with a different GP who insisted I had an endoscopy, she arranged the apt there and then on her PC, she was very helpful and supportive and gave me confidence. The outcome eventually was a tumour being found resulting in a esophagectomy after a course of Chemo, I have not seen the original GP since my operation, and other people I speak to all seemed to agree that he did not have a very good manner, he has since left the practice, the lady GP who took the bull by the horns will always have my eternal gratitude.


I too had a smilar experience. I thought I had a recurence of an ulcer that I had a few years previous to the symptoms I was feeling which had been treated with an antibiotic, so I went to my GP and he told me that once an ulcer had been treated with said antibiotic it couldn't be treated again. So I put up with it for a couple of month's and I was still feeling the same so I went back to my practice but saw a different GP. He told me this wasn't the case and sent me for a breath test that would show if it was an ulcer. This came back negative so I was sent for an endoscopy and yes it turned out that I had Oesophageal Cancer. If this second GP hadn't sent me for the breath test which luckily was caught very early I might not be here now so I will be for ever in his debt.


If you have (or make) the opportunity, please encourage your GPs by letting them know when they have made the right decisions like this. It makes a tremendous difference to the way they do their job, and they sometimes need to flex their clinical judgement in the face of NICE guidelines that tend to ration out treatments quite severely.


I went to Korea for a meeting, and like all who went from Oz and NZ, came back ill with a virus. After 2 weeks, went to my Gp who gave me antibiotics, but decided to do some blood tests as there is a campaign on screening here in NZ. My Ferritin was low ? Was I bleeding ? Occult Bloods Negative, so had a Gastroscopy. There was a lot of acid damage, and 2 out of 3 biopsy sample clear. One showed mild dysplasia so back for repeat Gastro and CT scan. Scan clear but biopsies showed moderately differentiated cells and I entered Chemo 2 weeks later.

If I hadn't gone to Korea, picked up a virus, toughed it out for another week, the GP had not done the bloods, or the single biopsy found - I was signed off for a repeat in 12 months. There are so many IF'S there. Whilst I hate this- I believe I was so lucky


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