The esophagus is a hollow tube that carries food and liquids from your throat to your stomach. Early esophageal cancer usually does not cause symptoms. However, as the cancer grows, symptoms may include painful or difficult swallowing, weight loss and coughing up blood. Risk factors for developing esophageal cancer include Smoking Heavy drinking Damage from acid reflux Treatments include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and laser therapy. You might also need nutritional support , since the cancer or treatment may make it hard to swallow.