Oesophageal cancer statistics

Cases

New cases of oesophageal cancer, 2015, 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 9,000 new oesophageal cancer cases in the UK every year, that's 25 every day (2013-2015).
  • Oesophageal cancer is the 13th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 3% of all new cancer cases (2015).
  • In males in the UK, oesophageal cancer is the 9th most common cancer, with around 6,200 new cases in 2015.
  • In females in the UK, oesophageal cancer is the 15th most common cancer, with around 3,000 new cases in 2015.
  • Incidence rates for oesophageal cancer in the UK are highest in people aged 85 to 89 (2013-2015).
  • Since the early 1990s, oesophageal cancer incidence rates have increased by around a twentieth (6%) in the UK, however this includes an increase in males (10%), and a decrease in females (9%).
  • 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 a twentieth (5%).
  • 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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The latest statistics available for oesophageal cancer in the UK are; incidence 2015, mortality 2016 and survival 2010-2011 (all ages combined) and 2009-2013 (by age).  

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

European Age-Standardised Rates were calculated using the 1976 European Standard Population (ESP) unless otherwise stated as calculated with ESP2013. ASRs calculated with ESP2013 are not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

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.

Routes to diagnosis statistics were calculated from cases of cancer registered in England which were diagnosed in 2012-2013.

Cancer waiting times statistics are for patients who entered the health care system within financial year 2014-15. Oesophageal 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.

Cancer surgical resection rates data is for patients diagnosed in England between 2006 and 2010.

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

Deprivation gradient statistics were calculated using incidence data for three time periods: 1996-2000, 2001-2005 and 2006-2010 and for mortality for two time periods: 2002-2006 and 2007-2011. The 1997-2001 mortality data were only used for the all cancers combined group as this time period includes the change in coding from ICD-9 to ICD-10. The deprivation quintiles were calculated using the Income domain scores from the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) from the following years: 2004, 2007 and 2010. Full details on the data and methodology can be found in the Cancer by Deprivation in England NCIN report.

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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.

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