Oesophageal cancer statistics

Cases

New cases of oesophageal cancer, 2011, UK

Deaths

Deaths from oesophageal cancer, 2012, UK

Survival

Survive oesophageal cancer for 10 or more years, 2010-11, England and Wales

Prevention

Preventable cases of oesophageal cancer, UK

  • Oesophageal cancer is the thirteenth most common cancer in the UK.
  • In 2011, around 8,300 people were diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in the UK, that’s 23 people every day.
  • Oesophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer in men in the UK, with around 5,600 new cases diagnosed in 2011.
  • Around 2,800 women were diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in 2011 in the UK making it the fourteenth most common cancer in women.
  • More than 8 in 10 oesophageal cancers occur in people aged 60 or over.
  • Oesophageal cancer rates have risen by 65% in men and 14% in women since the mid-1970s.
  • In Europe, around 45,900 new cases of oesophageal cancer were estimated to have been diagnosed in 2012.
  • The UK incidence rate is second highest in Europe for males and the highest for females.
  • Worldwide, nearly 456,000 new cases of oesophageal cancer were estimated to have been diagnosed in 2012, with incidence rates varying across the world.

Read more in-depth oesophageal cancer incidence statistics

  • Oesophageal cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer death and accounts for around 5% of all cancer deaths in the UK.
  • In 2012, around 7,700 people died from oesophageal cancer in the UK, that is 21 people every day.
  • In the UK in 2012, around 5,200 men died from cancer of the oesophagus.
  • In 2012, around 2,500 women in the UK died from oesophageal cancer.
  • Almost half of oesophageal cancer deaths in the UK occur in the 75s and over.
  • Oesophageal cancer mortality rates in men increased by 70% between the early 1970s and their peak in the mid-2000s. Since then, mortality rates in men have fallen slightly.
  • Oesophageal cancer mortality rates in women rose by 30% from the early 1970s to their peak in the mid-1990s. Since then, mortality rates in women have fallen by nearly a fifth.
  • In Europe, around 39,500 people were estimated to have died from oesophageal cancer in 2012. The UK mortality rate is the highest in Europe for both males and females.
  • Worldwide, around 400,000 people were estimated to have died from oesophageal cancer in 2012, with mortality rates varying across the world.

Read more in-depth oesophageal cancer mortality statistics

  • Around 4 in 10 people diagnosed with oesophageal cancer survive their disease for at least one year after diagnosis.
  • 15% of people diagnosed with oesophageal cancer survive the disease for at least five years after diagnosis.
  • Ten-year survival for oesophageal cancer has more than trebled in the last forty years, but it is still low. More than 1 in 10 patients are likely to survive their disease for at least ten years.
  • Oesophageal cancer survival is higher for patients diagnosed at a younger age.

Read more in-depth oesophageal cancer survival statistics

  • 89% of oesophageal cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
  • A person’s risk of developing oesophageal cancer depends on many factors , including age , genetics , and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
  • Oesophageal cancer risk factors vary between adenocarcinoma (AC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) , but smoking causes both types.
  • Smoking is the main avoidable risk factor for oesophageal cancer, linked to an estimated 66% of oesophageal cancer cases in the UK. Smoking is also related to Barrett’s oesophagus, a precursor for oesophageal AC. 
  • An estimated 89% of oesophageal cancers in the UK are linked to lifestyle factors including smoking, overweight and obesity (22%), and alcohol (21%). 
  • Smokeless tobacco, betel quid, and ionising radiation cause oesophageal cancer.
  • A diet high in fruit and vegetables may protect against oesophageal cancer – insufficient fruit and vegetables intake is linked to an estimated 46% of oesophageal cancer cases in the UK.
  • Certain occupational exposures, meat, and high-temperature drinks may relate to higher oesophageal cancer risk, but evidence is unclear.

Read more in-depth oesophageal cancer risk factors

The latest statistics available for oesophageal cancer in the UK are; incidence 2011, mortality 2012 and survival 2010-2011.  

The ICD code Open a glossary item for oesophageal cancer is ICD-10 C15.

Survival statistics give an overall picture of survival and (unless otherwise stated) include all adults (15-99) diagnosed, at all ages, stage Open a glossary item and co-morbidities Open a glossary item. The survival time experienced by an individual patient may be much higher or lower, depending on specific patient and tumour characteristics.

Meta-analyses Open a glossary item and systematic reviews Open a glossary item are cited where available, as they provide the best overview of all available research and most take study quality into account. Individual case-control and cohort studies Open a glossary item are reported where such aggregated data are lacking.

Studies which group together the two main morphological types of oesophageal cancer – adenocarcinoma (AC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – may be confounded, because there are some aetiological differences between the types. Studies which consider the types separately are used in our risk factors analysis wherever possible.

See information and explanations on terminology used for statistics and reporting of cancer, and the methods used to calculate some of the statistics are also available.

Citation

You are welcome to reuse this Cancer Research UK statistics content for your own work.

Credit us as authors by referencing Cancer Research UK as the primary source. Suggested styles are:

Web content: Cancer Research UK, full URL of the page, Accessed [month] [year]. 

Publications: Cancer Research UK ([year of publication]), Name of publication, Cancer Research UK. 

Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the essential work of the cancer registries in the United Kingdom and Ireland  Association of Cancer Registries, without which there would be no data.

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