What are the symptoms of Zbigniew Ziobro’s cancer? The politician downplayed one of them

What are the symptoms of Zbigniew Ziobro's cancer?  The politician downplayed one of them

Zbigniew Ziobro had been struggling with hoarseness for a long time, but the politician downplayed this symptom, which, as it later turned out, was a sign of cancer. We explain what else, apart from this symptom, should make you watch out.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk in the media about Zbigniew Ziobro’s health. The former Minister of Justice, president of Sovereign Poland, is currently struggling with cancer – last year he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Former deputy minister of justice, Michał Wójcik, said in an interview with “Super Express” that the politician was undergoing chemotherapy. He also noticed that Zbigniew Ziobro had been struggling with hoarseness for years, but he thought it was a symptom of allergies.

Zbigniew Ziobro downplayed the symptoms of his illness

Michał Wójcik also conveyed an important appeal from Zbigniew Ziobro: “He asked me to tell everyone who observes symptoms that may indicate cancer not to underestimate the symptoms,” he said. He also noted that the politician had been doing just that for a long time:

I remember it. Zbyszek went to various doctors. And only then did it become clear what was wrong with him. Because we know that when you work in the ministry for years, you simply put all these things aside. There was always something more important. (…) The disease was detected in an advanced stage. And it only turned out that all the hoarseness, about which the minister was brazenly attacked by his opponents, was exactly a symptom of cancer.

What else is a symptom of the cancer Zbigniew Ziobro suffers from?

Long-term hoarseness may result from external factors, such as vocal cord strain or smoking, but it can also be a symptom of a serious illness. It may indicate larynx or throat cancer – as in the case of Zbigniew Ziobro. This is the most characteristic symptom of this cancer. Please remember that any hoarseness lasting more than 3 weeks (especially in people who smoke cigarettes) is an indication for consultation with a doctor and an ENT examination.

Early symptoms of esophageal cancer are usually non-specific and may resemble gastroesophageal reflux disease. Later, the lumen of the esophagus gradually narrows, which makes it difficult to swallow solid food and, later, also liquids. You should also be concerned about the symptoms that accompany chronic hoarseness, such as:

  • sore throat (without other obvious causes),

  • laryngeal wheeze,

  • pain when swallowing,

  • nausea and vomiting (are associated with an obstruction in the esophagus that prevents food from passing into the stomach).

The inability to swallow solid food indicates significant local advancement of the cancer and involvement of adjacent anatomical structures. Symptoms depend on the stage of the cancer and its advancement. Persistent hoarseness is usually one of the first symptoms. Retrosternal and epigastric pain may also occur (due to the tumor infiltrating the surrounding structures). General symptoms may also occur, such as:

  • loss of appetite and weight,

  • wasting,

  • bleeding into the gastrointestinal tract,

  • cough and frequent pneumonia (which are associated with the involvement of the respiratory system by cancer infiltration).

What to do in case of chronic hoarseness?

If, despite proper treatment, hoarseness persists for longer than 2-3 weeks, the patient should see an otolaryngologist. This is also necessary if other symptoms occur. In order for the doctor to make a correct diagnosis, it is necessary to conduct a medical interview, as well as diagnostics using an endoscopic examination (the detected change requires taking samples for histopathological examination) and a radiological examination of the esophagus and stomach. To determine the clinical advancement of the disease, endoscopic ultrasound is also recommended, thanks to which it is possible to assess the depth of cancer infiltration of the esophageal wall. It is important to determine the cause of hoarseness (and other symptoms), because in the case of advanced stage cancer, surgical treatment may not be possible and chemoradiotherapy is used.

Chronic hoarseness – other causes

Hoarseness, i.e. a change in the normal tone of the voice, may result from trivial reasons, such as a cold, but may also indicate the following diseases:

  • diseases of the thyroid gland that result in its enlargement (e.g. nodular goiter),

  • neurodegenerative diseases (stroke, Parkinson’s disease),

  • gastroesophageal reflux disease,

  • allergy and asthma,

  • singing nodules (benign changes in the vocal folds).

Factors that are not related to the disease also contribute to the development of hoarseness. These include smoking, inhaling irritating substances, and abusing your voice.

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