Oesophageal cancer statistics

Cases

New cases of oesophageal cancer, 2014-2016 average, UK

Deaths

Deaths from oesophageal cancer, 2016, UK

Survival

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

Preventable cases

Oesophageal cancer cases are preventable, UK, 2015

 

  • There are around 9,100 new oesophageal cancer cases in the UK every year, that's 25 every day (2014-2016).
  • Oesophageal cancer is the 14th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 2% of all new cancer cases (2016).
  • In females in the UK, oesophageal cancer is the 16th most common cancer, with around 2,800 new cases in 2016.
  • In males in the UK, oesophageal cancer is the 9th most common cancer, with around 6,200 new cases in 2016.
  • Incidence rates for oesophageal cancer in the UK are highest in people aged 85 to 89 (2014-2016).
  • Since the early 1990s, oesophageal cancer incidence rates have increased by around a twentieth (6%) in the UK. Rates in females have decreased by around a tenth (11%), and rates in males have increased by around a tenth (11%).
  • Over the last decade, oesophageal cancer incidence rates have remained stable in the UK. Rates in males have remained stable, and rates in females have decreased by more than a twentieth (7%).
  • Around 7 in 10 oesophageal cancer cases are diagnosed at a late stage in England (2014), Scotland (2014) and Northern Ireland (2010-2014).
  • Most oesophageal cancers occur in the lower third of the oesophagus.
  • Incidence rates for oesophageal cancer are projected to fall by 3% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 18 cases per 100,000 people by 2035.
  • Oesophageal cancer in England is more common in people living in the most deprived areas.
  • Oesophageal cancer is more common in White people than Asian or Black people.
  • An estimated 15,600 people who had previously been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer were alive in the UK at the end of 2010.

See more in-depth oesophageal cancer incidence statistics

  • There are around 7,900 oesophageal cancer deaths in the UK every year, that's 22 every day (2014-2016).
  • Oesophageal cancer is the 7th most common cause of cancer death in the UK, accounting for 5% of all cancer deaths (2016).
  • In males in the UK, oesophageal cancer is the 4th most common cause of cancer death, with around 5,500 deaths in 2016.
  • In females in the UK, oesophageal cancer is the 7th most common cause of cancer death, with around 2,500 deaths in 2016.
  • Mortality rates for oesophageal cancer in the UK are highest in people aged 85 to 89 (2014-2016).
  • Since the early 1970s, oesophageal cancer mortality rates have increased by more than two-fifths (44%) in the UK. Rates in males have increased by almost three-fifths (57%), and rates in females have increased by around a tenth (9%).
  • Over the last decade, oesophageal cancer mortality rates have decreased by almost a tenth (8%) in the UK. Rates in males have decreased by almost a tenth (8%), and rates in females have decreased by around a seventh (13%).
  • Mortality rates for oesophageal cancer are projected to fall by 16% in the UK between 2014 and 2035, to 13 deaths per 100,000 people by 2035.
  • Oesophageal cancer deaths in England are more common in people living in the most deprived areas.

See more in-depth oesophageal cancer mortality statistics

  • More than a tenth (12%) of people diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for ten years or more (2010-11).
  • 3 in 20 (15%) of people diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for five years or more (2010-11).
  • More than 4 in 10 (42%) people diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in England and Wales survive their disease for one year or more (2010-11).
  • Oesophageal cancer survival is higher in men than women at one-year, but similar at five- and ten-years.
  • Almost a fifth of men and more than a quarter of women in England diagnosed with oesophageal cancer aged 50-59 survive their disease for five years or more, compared with around 5 in 100 people diagnosed aged 80 and over (2009-2013).
  • Oesophageal cancer survival is improving and has tripled in the last 40 years in the UK.
  • In the 1970s, less than 5 in 100 people diagnosed with oesophageal cancer survived their disease beyond ten years, now it's more than a tenth.
  • Five-year relative survival for oesophageal cancer in men is similar to the European average in England, Wales and Scotland but above the European average in Northern Ireland.
  • Five-year relative survival for oesophageal cancer in women is similar to the European average in England and Wales but below the European average in Scotland.

See more in-depth oesophageal cancer survival statistics

  • A person’s risk of developing cancer depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
  • 1 in 50 UK males and 1 in 96 UK females will be diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in their lifetime.
  • 59% of oesophageal cancer cases in the UK are preventable.

See more in-depth oesophageal cancer risk statistics

  • 'Two-week wait' is the most common route to diagnosing oesophageal cancer.
  • ‘Two-week wait’ standards are met by all countries, ‘31-day wait’ is met by all but Northern Ireland, and ‘62-day wait’ is not met by any country for upper gastrointestinal cancers.
  • 19% of patients diagnosed with oesophageal cancer have surgery to remove the tumour as part of their primary cancer treatment.
  • 30% of patients diagnosed with oesophageal cancer have radiotherapy as part of their primary cancer treatment.
  • 45% of patients diagnosed with oesophageal cancer have chemotherapy as part of their primary cancer treatment.

See more in-depth oesophageal cancer diagnosis and treatment statistics

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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.