Oesophageal cancer diagnosis and treatment statistics

Routes to diagnosis

'Two-week wait' is the most common route to diagnosing oesophageal cancer

More than 4 in 10 (42%) of oesophageal cancer cases in England are diagnosed via the ‘two-week wait’ referral route.[1]

A fifth (20%) of oesophageal cancers cases in England are diagnosed after presenting as an emergency.[1] Around two thirds (67%) of emergency presentation cases are via Accident and Emergency (A&E), with the other cases coming via an emergency GP referral, inpatient referral or outpatient referral.[2]

A fifth (20%) of oesophageal cancer cases in England are diagnosed following a routine or urgent GP referral (but not under the ‘two-week wait’ referral route).[1]

There are variations in routes to diagnosis by sex, age, deprivation and ethnicity.[3]

Oesophageal Cancer (C15), Percentage of Cases by Route to Diagnosis, Adults Aged 15-99, England, 2012-2013

References

  1. National Cancer Intelligence Network. Routes to Diagnosis 2006-2013 workbook (a). London: NCIN; 2015.
  2. National Cancer Intelligence Network. Routes to diagnosis 2006-2013 workbook (b). London: NCIN; 2016.
  3. National Cancer Intelligence Network. Routes to diagnosis Site Specific Data Briefings 2006-2013. London: NCIN; 2016.

About this data

Data is for: England, 2012-2013, ICD-10 C115

Last reviewed:

'14-day / Two-week wait'

England meets the standard for their country on the percentage of patients first seen by a specialist within two weeks of urgent GP referral for suspected cancer.[1]

'Two-week wait' supports early diagnosis as spotting cancer early is important for improving survival, so it is important that patients with potential cancer symptoms are referred promptly. 

'31-day wait'

Wales and Scotland meet the standard for their country on the percentage of patients that receive their first cancer treatment within 31 days of a decision to treat, while Northern Ireland does not meet the standard for their country.[2-4]

The speed at which patients receive their first treatment can have a positive outcome on their clinical outcome, so it is important that patients with cancer symptoms are treated promptly.

'62-day wait'

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland do not meet the standard for their country on the percentage of patients receiving their first definitive treatment for cancer within two months of a GP referral for suspected cancer.[2-4]

The speed at which patients receive their first treatment can have a positive outcome on their clinical outcome, so it is important that patients with cancer symptoms are treated promptly.

Cancer waiting times coding and standards are different in each country and so comparisons should not be made between countries, only each country against their own measures.

Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer, Waiting Times, UK countries, 2014-15

    England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
'14-day wait': seen by specialist following referral Performance 92.1%      
Standard 93%      
Performance against standard Meets standard      
'31-day wait': receipt of first treatment following decision to treat Performance   99.3% 99.2% 96.4%
Standard   95% 95% 98%
Performance against standard   Meets standard Meets standard Does not meet standard
'62-day wait': receipt of first treatment following referral Performance   80.3% 93.6% 57.4%
Standard   98% 95% 95%
Performance against standard   Does not meet standard Does not meet standard Does not meet standard

Data not available for '14-day wait' in Wales, Scotland or NI.
Data not available for '31- or 62-day wait' in England.

References

  1. NHS England. Cancer waiting times.  Accessed May 2015.
  2. StatsWales. Cancer waiting times. Accessed May 2015. 
  3. ISD Scotland. Cancer Waiting Times. Accessed June 2015. 
  4. Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. Cancer Waiting Times. Accessed June 2015.

About this data

Data is for: UK, 2014-2015, ICD-10 C15-C16, C22-C25

Cancer waiting times statistics are for patients who entered the health care system within financial year 2014-15. Gallbladder cancer is part of the group 'Upper Gastrointestinal cancer' for cancer waiting times data. Codes vary per country but broadly include: oesophagus, stomach, liver, gallbladder, other and unspecified parts of biliary tract, pancreas, secondary cancers of liver, intrahepatic bile duct and duodenum.

Last reviewed:

19% of patients diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in England during 2013-2014 had surgery to remove their primary tumour, as part of their primary cancer treatment.[1] This includes patients who had surgery alone, and those who also had other treatments such as radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Surgery not intending to remove the tumour, including biopsies or other palliative surgery, is not included in this figure.

The proportion of oesophageal cancer patients having surgery to remove their primary tumour is strongly influenced by stage at diagnosis. 

Other factors are also important, such as whether the patient is generally well enough to tolerate the treatment, the patient’s age, and their own treatment preference.

Oesophageal Cancer (C15), Percentage of Patients Receiving Surgery to Remove the Tumour in the 9 Months After Diagnosis, Persons, All ages, England, 2013-2014

Stage at diagnosis Percentage of patients
All stages combined 18.8%
Stage 1 47.9%
Stage 2 35.6%
Stage 3 29.1%
Stage 4 1.5%
Unknown stage 8.8%

References

  1. National Cancer Registration & Analysis Service and Cancer Research UK: "Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy and Tumour Resections in England: 2013-2014" workbook. London: NCRAS; 2017.

About this data

Data is for: England, 2013-2014, ICD-10 C15

Tumour removal surgery includes any surgical attempt to remove the whole of the primary tumour in the 9 months after diagnosis.

The percentage of patients having surgery to remove their tumour do not equal 100%, as patients are able to have more than one type of treatment, as well as other treatments not included in this data, for example hormonal therapy.

Last reviewed:

30% of patients diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in England during 2013-2014 had curative or palliative radiotherapy, as part of their primary cancer treatment.[1] This includes patients who had radiotherapy alone, and those who also had other treatments such as surgery to remove the tumour, or chemotherapy.

The proportion of oesophageal cancer patients having radiotherapy is strongly influenced by stage at diagnosis. 

Other factors are also important, such as whether the patient is generally well enough to tolerate the treatment, the patient’s age, and their own treatment preference.

Oesophageal Cancer (C15), Percentage of Patients Receiving Radiotherapy in the 15 Months After Diagnosis, Persons, All ages, England, 2013-2014

Stage at diagnosis Percentage of patients
All stages combined 30.2%
Stage 1 31.9%
Stage 2 40.9%
Stage 3 38.5%
Stage 4 23.2%
Unknown stage 23.4%

References

  1. National Cancer Registration & Analysis Service and Cancer Research UK: "Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy and Tumour Resections in England: 2013-2014" workbook. London: NCRAS; 2017.

About this data

Data is for: England, 2013-2014, ICD-10 C15

Radiotherapy includes both curative and palliative teletherapy procedures (excluding Brachytherapy and Contact Radiotherapy) started in the 15 months after diagnosis.

The percentage of patients having radiotherapy do not equal 100%, as patients are able to have more than one type of treatment, as well as other treatments not included in this data, for example hormonal therapy.

Last reviewed:

45% of patients diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in England in 2013-2014 had curative or palliative chemotherapy, as part of their primary cancer treatment.[1] This includes patients who had chemotherapy alone, and those who also had other treatments such as tumour removal surgery or radiotherapy.

The proportion of oesophageal cancer patients having chemotherapy is strongly influenced by stage at diagnosis. 

Other factors are also important, such as whether the patient is generally well enough to tolerate the treatment, the patient’s age, and their own treatment preference.

Oesophageal Cancer (C15), Percentage of Patients Receiving Chemotherapy in the 6 Months After Diagnosis, Persons, All ages, England, 2013-2014

Stage at diagnosis Percentage of patients
All stages combined 44.9%
Stage 1 33.0%
Stage 2 57.6%
Stage 3 63.9%
Stage 4 44.9%
Unknown stage 22.5%

References

  1. National Cancer Registration & Analysis Service and Cancer Research UK: "Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy and Tumour Resections in England: 2013-2014" workbook. London: NCRAS; 2017.

About this data

Data is for: England, 2013-2014, ICD-10 C15

Chemotherapy includes both curative and palliative chemotherapy (excluding Hormonal therapy, and other supportive drugs such as Zoledronic acid, Pamidronate, Denosumab) started in the 6 months after diagnosis.

The percentage of patients having chemotherapy do not equal 100%, as patients are able to have more than one type of treatment, as well as other treatments not included in this data, for example hormonal therapy.

Last reviewed:

The National Cancer Patient Experience Survey monitors patients’ self-reported satisfaction with each step of the cancer pathway in England, providing information to drive improvements in cancer care.[1] The survey has been conducted annually since 2010.

Overall, most cancer patients in England report positive experiences of cancer care. However patient experience varies along the cancer pathway, and by gender, ethnicity, age, deprivation, and cancer type. Satisfaction scores tend to be higher for experiences with Clinical Nurse Specialists and other hospital staff, and lower for experiences with GPs and general practice staff. Patients who report more positive experiences of cancer diagnosis and treatment tend to be male, white, older, and less deprived.

Last reviewed:

Citation

You are welcome to reuse this Cancer Research UK 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.
Graphics (when reused unaltered): Credit: Cancer Research UK.
Graphics (when recreated with differences): Based on a graphic created by Cancer Research UK.

When Cancer Research UK material is used for commercial reasons, we encourage a donation to our life-saving research.
Send a cheque payable to Cancer Research UK to: Cancer Research UK, Angel Building, 407 St John Street, London, EC1V 4AD or

Donate online

Cancer stats explained

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

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the many organisations across the UK which collect, analyse, and share the data which we use, and to the patients and public who consent for their data to be used. Find out more about the sources which are essential for our statistics.

Rate this page:

Currently rated: 2.1 out of 5 based on 11 votes
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think

Share this page