Oesophageal cancer diagnosis and treatment statistics

Routes to diagnosis

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

Patient Experience

Oesophageal cancer patients rating their care very good or excellent, 2014, England

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 30.4%
Stage 1 32.4%
Stage 2 41.1%
Stage 3 38.7%
Stage 4 23.3%
Unknown stage 23.8%

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

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:

88% of oesophageal cancer patients rate their care as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’.[1] Patient experience varies with individual needs and concerns, which are influenced by many aspects of personal background, disease characteristics and the care environment.

93% of patients were given the name of a Clinical Nurse Specialist in charge of their care.[1] Being given the name of a Clinical Nurse Specialist in charge of a patients’ care is the factor most likely to be associated with high patient satisfaction scores.[2]

54% said they saw their GP once or twice before being told they had to go to hospital.[1] How often a patient sees their GP before being referred to hospital varies by cancer type depending on ease of diagnosis.[3]

For oesophageal cancer the proportion that said they saw their GP once or twice before being told they had to go to hospital is lower than the average for all cancer patients.[1]

Spotting cancer early is important for improving survival so it is important that patients with potential cancer symptoms are referred for tests promptly.

Oesophageal cancer (C15), Patient Experience Survey, by Sex, England, 2014

Female Male Persons
Percentage of patients treated for cancer who visited their GP once or twice about the health problem caused by their cancer 52.9% 54.6% 54.2%
Percentage of patients treated for cancer who said they were given the name of a Clinical Nurse Specialist in charge of their care 92.0% 93.4% 93.1%
Percentage of patients treated for cancer who rated their overall care as excellent or very good 86.2% 89.1% 88.4%

About this data

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

Patient Experience data is for adult patients in England with a primary diagnosis of cancer and who had been in active treatment between September and November 2013 who completed a survey in 2014.

Last reviewed:

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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.

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