Oesophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer and the sixth most common cause of cancer-related death in the world. In 2012
- 456,000 new cases were reported which was 3% of all cancers
- 400,000 deaths were reported
Epidemiology of the two main subtypes of oesophageal cancer varies according to the region
- a very high incidence of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is reported in
- “Asian esophageal cancer belt”, which encompasses Turkey, northeastern Iran, Kazakhstan, and northern and central China - with more than 100 cases per 100 000 population annually
- southern and eastern Africa
- prevalence of oesophageal adenocarcinoma is increasing in some Asian countries e.g. - Singapore (1,2)
Incidence of oesophageal cancer is increasing throughout the world.
- incidence of SSC remains stable or declined in the Western countries whilst the incidence of adenocarcinoma has risen more rapidly
- specially seen in white men
- in the USA, from 1975 to 2004, age-adjusted incidence of oesophageal carcinoma in white men increased from 5·76 to 8·34 per 100 000 person-years, largely due to 463% increase in oesophageal adenocarcinoma.
- the UK has the highest reported incidence worldwide (2,3)
- it is rare in young people and the incidence increases with age, peaking in the seventh and eighth decade of life (4)
In the UK:
- there were around 8,900 new cases of oesophageal cancer in 2014, that’s 24 cases diagnosed every day
- is the 14th most common cancer (2014)
- 7790 deaths were reported in 2014
- more common in males than females
- 1 in 55 men and 1 in 115 women will be diagnosed with oesophageal cancer during their lifetime.
- is more common in White people than Asian or Black people
- age-specific incidence rates rise sharply from around age 45-49 years, with
the highest rates in the 90+ age group (5)
- incidence rates are higher for males than females from age 30-34, with no significant differences at younger ages
- gap is widest at the ages of 40-44, when the male:female ratio of age-specific incidence rates (to account for the different proportions of males to females in each age group) is around 37:10
- most oesophageal cancers occur in the lower third of the oesophagus.
- is more common in people living in the most deprived areas (5)
- (1) Thrift AP. The epidemic of oesophageal carcinoma: Where are we now? Cancer Epidemiol. 2016;41:88-95.
- (2) Lagergren J, Lagergren P. Oesophageal cancer. BMJ. 2010;341:c6280.
- (3) Pennathur A et al. Oesophageal carcinoma. Lancet. 2013;381(9864):400-12.
- (4) Lordick F et al. Oesophageal cancer: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Ann Oncol. 2016;27(suppl 5):v50-v57.
- (5) Cancer Research UK. Oesophageal cancer survival statistics. (Accessed 05/10/2017)
Last reviewed 01/2018