Oesophageal cancer incidence statistics

Cases

New cases of oesophageal cancer, 2016-2018, UK

 

Proportion of all cases

Percentage oesophageal cancer is of total cancer cases, 2016-2018, UK

 

Age

Peak rate of oesophageal cancer cases, 2016-2018, UK

Trend over time

Oesophageal cancer incidence rates have changed differently for each sex since the early 1990s, UK

 

Oesophageal cancer is the 14th most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 2% of all new cancer cases (2017-2019).[1-4]

In females in the UK, oesophageal cancer is the 16th most common cancer (2% of all new female cancer cases). In males in the UK, it is the 9th most common cancer (3% of all new male cancer cases).

31% of oesophageal cancer cases in the UK are in females, and 69% are in males.

Oesophageal cancer incidence rates (European age-standardised (AS) rate Open a glossary item) for persons are significantly higher than the UK average in Scotland and significantly lower than the UK average in Northern Ireland and are similar to the UK average in all other UK constituent countries.

For oesophageal cancer, like most cancer types, differences between countries largely reflect risk factor prevalence in years past.

Oesophageal Cancer (C15), Average Number of New Cases Per Year, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2017-2019

  England Scotland Wales Northern Ireland UK
Female Cases 2,353 298 149 57 2,856
Crude Rate 8.3 10.7 9.3 5.9 8.5
AS Rate 8.2 10.0 8.2 6.3 8.3
AS Rate - 95% LCL 8.0 9.4 7.5 5.4 8.1
AS Rate - 95% UCL 8.4 10.7 9.0 7.3 8.5
Male Cases 5,419 599 320 160 6,498
Crude Rate 19.6 22.6 20.7 17.3 19.8
AS Rate 22.3 24.7 21.1 20.9 22.4
AS Rate - 95% LCL 22.0 23.6 19.8 19.0 22.1
AS Rate - 95% UCL 22.7 25.9 22.5 22.8 22.8
Persons Cases 7,772 896 469 217 9,354
Crude Rate 13.9 16.5 14.9 11.5 14.1
AS Rate 14.8 16.8 14.3 13.2 14.9
AS Rate - 95% LCL 14.6 16.1 13.6 12.2 14.7
AS Rate - 95% UCL 15.0 17.4 15.0 14.2 15.1

95% LCL and 95% UCL are the 95% lower and upper confidence limits around the AS Rate Open a glossary item

References

  1. England data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (NCRAS), part of the National Disease Registration Service (NDRS) in NHS England, on request through the Office for Data Release, January 2023. Similar data can be found here: https://www.cancerdata.nhs.uk/ 

  2.  Northern Ireland data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR) on request, October 2021. Similar data can be found here:http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/

  3. Welsh data were published by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit (WCISU), Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales https://phw.nhs.wales/services-and-teams/welsh-cancer-intelligence-and-surveillance-unit-wcisu/cancer-reporting-tool-official-statistics/ June 2022. 

  4. Scotland data were provided by the Scottish Cancer Registry, Public Health Scotland (PHS) on request, May 2021. Similar data can be found here: https://publichealthscotland.scot/publications/show-all-releases?id=20468

About this data

Data is for UK, 2017-2019, ICD-10 C15.

Last reviewed:

Oesophageal cancer incidence is strongly related to age, with the highest incidence rates being in older people. In the UK in 2016-2018, on average each year around 4 in 10 new cases (41%) were in people aged 75 and over.[1-4]

Age-specific incidence rates rise from around age 40-49, steadily in females and more steeply in males. The highest rates are in in the 85 to 89 age group for females and the 90+ age group for males.

Incidence rates are significantly lower in females than males in a number of (mainly older) age groups. The gap is widest at age 25 to 29, when the age-specific incidence rate is 5.9 times lower in females than males.

Oesophageal cancer (C15), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2016-2018

For oesophageal cancer, like most cancer types, incidence increases with age. This largely reflects cell DNA damage accumulating over time. Damage can result from biological processes or from exposure to risk factors. A drop or plateau in incidence in the oldest age groups often indicates reduced diagnostic activity perhaps due to general ill health.

References

  1. Data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (part of Public Health England), on request through the Office for Data Release, July 2021. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were published by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales https://phw.nhs.wales/services-and-teams/welsh-cancer-intelligence-and-surveillance-unit-wcisu/cancer-incidence-in-wales-2002-2018/, March 2021.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 2016-2018, ICD-10 C15.

Last reviewed:

Oesophageal cancer European age-standardised (AS) Open a glossary item incidence rates for females and males combined increased by 4% in the UK between 1993-1995 and 2016-2018.[1-4] The change varied markedly between sexes.

For females, oesophageal cancer AS incidence rates in the UK decreased by 16% between 1993-1995 and 2016-2018. For males, oesophageal cancer AS incidence rates in the UK increased by 11% between 1993-1995 and 2016-2018.

Over the last decade in the UK (between 2006-2008 and 2016-2018), oesophageal cancer AS incidence rates for females and males combined decreased by 3%. In females AS incidence rates decreased by 10%, and in males rates remained stable.

Oesophageal Cancer (C15), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, UK, 1993 to 2018

Oesophageal cancer incidence rates have varied between age groups in females in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] Rates in 0-24s have remained stable, in 25-49s have remained stable, in 50-59s have decreased by 17%, in 60-69s have remained stable, in 70-79s have decreased by 18% and in 80+s have decreased by 18%.

Oesophageal Cancer (C15), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates per 100,000 Female Population, By Age, UK, 1993-2018

Oesophageal cancer incidence rates have varied between age groups in males in the UK since the early 1990s.[1-4] Rates in 0-24s have remained stable, in 25-49s have remained stable, in 50-59s have increased by 10%, in 60-69s have increased by 17%, in 70-79s have increased by 14% and in 80+s have remained stable.

Oesophageal Cancer (C15), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates per 100,000 Male Population, By Age, UK, 1993-2018

For oesophageal cancer, like most cancer types, incidence trends largely reflect changing prevalence of risk factors and improvements in diagnosis and data recording. Recent incidence trends are influenced by risk factor prevalence in years past, and trends by age group reflect risk factor exposure in birth cohorts.

References

  1. Data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (part of Public Health England), on request through the Office for Data Release, July 2021. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/conditionsanddiseases/bulletins/cancerregistrationstatisticsengland/previousReleases
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were published by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales https://phw.nhs.wales/services-and-teams/welsh-cancer-intelligence-and-surveillance-unit-wcisu/cancer-incidence-in-wales-2002-2018/, March 2021.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/.

About this data

Data is for UK, 1993-2018, ICD-10 C15.

Last reviewed:

The most common specific location for oesophageal cancers in the UK is the lower third of the oesophagus (2016-2018).[1-4] Variation of incidence by anatomical site may reflect the physical size of each site, and differences in risk factor exposure by site, among other factors.

Download this data

Cases and percentages may not sum due to rounding

References

  1. Data were provided by the National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service (part of Public Health England), on request through the Office for Data Release, July 2021. Similar data can be found here: https://www.ons.gov.uk
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, April 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications.
  3. Data were published by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit, Health Intelligence Division, Public Health Wales, March 2021. https://phw.nhs.wales/services-and-teams/welsh-cancer-intelligence-and-surveillance-unit-wcisu/cancer-incidence-in-wales-2002-2018/.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, June 2020. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/

About this data

Data is for UK, 2016-2018, ICD-10 C15. For some cases the specific location of the cancer is not recorded, this may be due to clinical or data recording factors.

Last reviewed:

The number of new oesophageal cancer cases on average each year in the UK is projected to rise from around 10,300 cases in 2023-2025 to around 11,700 cases in 2038-2040.[1]

Oesophageal cancer incidence rates are projected to fall by 6% in the UK between 2023-2025 and 2038-2040, to 14 cases per 100,000 people on average each year by 2038-2040.[1] This includes a similar decrease for males and females.

For females, oesophageal cancer European age standardised (AS) incidence Open a glossary item rates in the UK are projected to fall by 5% between 2023-2025 and 2038-2040, to 8 cases per 100,000 per year by 2038-2040.[1] For males, AS rates are projected to fall by 6% between 2023-2025 and 2038-2040, to 21 cases per 100,000 per year by 2038-2040.[1]

Oesophageal cancer (C15), Observed and Projected Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Sex, UK, 1993-2040

Download the data table (xlsx)

References

Calculated by the Cancer Intelligence Team at Cancer Research UK, February 2023. Age-period-cohort modelling approach described here, using 2020-based population projections (Office for National Statistics) and observed cancer incidence (1975-2018 for England, Scotland and Wales, 1993-2018 for Northern Ireland).

About this data

Projections are based on incidence data from 1975-2018 (England, Scotland and Wales) and 1993-2018 (Northern Ireland); the above figure presents all UK data from 1993-2018 (observed) and 2019-2040 (projected). Number of new cases and age-standardised rates are presented as annual averages for each 3-year rolling period. ICD-10 codes C15.

Projections are based on observed incidence rates and therefore implicitly include changes in cancer risk factors and diagnosis. Confidence intervals are not calculated for the projected figures. Projections are by their nature uncertain because unexpected events in future could change the trend. It is not sensible to calculate a boundary of uncertainty around these already uncertain point estimates. Changes are described as 'increase' or 'decrease' if there is any difference between the point estimates.

More on projections methodology

Last reviewed:

Oesophageal cancer incidence rates (European age-standardised (AS) rates Open a glossary item) in England in females are 43% higher in the most deprived quintile compared with the least, and in males are 50% higher in the most deprived quintile compared with the least (2013-2017).[1]

It is estimated that there are around 1,200 more cases of oesophageal cancer each year in England than there would be if every deprivation quintile had the same age-specific crude incidence rates as the least deprived quintile. Around 320 of these cases are in females, and around 890 in males.

In the text above, males and females’ excess cases do not sum to persons excess cases due to rounding.
 

Oesophageal Cancer (C15), Estimated Average Number of Excess Cases per Year and European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, by Deprivation Quintile, England, 2013-2017

References

  1. Calculated by the Cancer Intelligence Team at Cancer Research UK, April 2020. Based on method reported in National Cancer Intelligence Network Cancer by Deprivation in England Incidence, 1996-2010 Mortality, 1997-2011 . Using cancer incidence data 2013-2017 (Public Health England) and population data 2013-2017 (Office for National Statistics) by Indices of Multiple Deprivation 2015 income domain quintile, cancer type, sex, and five-year age band.

About this data

Data is for England, 2013-2017, ICD-10 C15.

 

Last reviewed:

An estimated 15,600 people who had been diagnosed with oesophageal cancer between 1991 and 2010 were alive in the UK at the end of 2010.[1]

References

  1. Macmillan Cancer Support and National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service. Cancer Prevalence UK Data Tables. London: NCRAS; 2015.

About this data

Data is for: Great Britain (1991-2010) and Northern Ireland (1993-2010), ICD-10 C77-C80

Last reviewed:

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.

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, 2 Redman Place, London, E20 1JQ or

Donate online

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.