SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Esophageal Cancer
Lifetime risk estimates are not available with the current statistics release, but will be added later when population data for older age groups are available.
Statistics at a GlanceShow More
At a Glance
- Estimated New Cases in 2016 16,910
- Estimated Deaths in 2016 15,690
Number of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The number of new cases of esophageal cancer was 4.3 per 100,000 men and women per year. The number of deaths was 4.1 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2009-2013 cases and deaths.
Lifetime Risk of Developing Cancer: Approximately 0.5 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with esophageal cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2010-2012 data.
Prevalence of This Cancer: In 2013, there were an estimated 36,857 people living with esophageal cancer in the United States.
Survival StatisticsShow More
How Many People Survive 5 Years Or More after Being Diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer?
Relative survival statistics compare the survival of patients diagnosed with cancer with the survival of people in the general population who are the same age, race, and sex and who have not been diagnosed with cancer. Because survival statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. No two patients are entirely alike, and treatment and responses to treatment can vary greatly.
Based on data from SEER 18 2006-2012. Gray figures represent those who have died from esophageal cancer. Green figures represent those who have survived 5 years or more.
Survival by Stage
Cancer stage at diagnosis, which refers to extent of a cancer in the body, determines treatment options and has a strong influence on the length of survival. In general, if the cancer is found only in the part of the body where it started it is localized (sometimes referred to as stage 1). If it has spread to a different part of the body, the stage is regional or distant. The earlier esophageal cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. For esophageal cancer, 20.0% are diagnosed at the local stage. The 5-year survival for localized esophageal cancer is 41.3%.
- Localized (20%)
Confined to Primary Site
- Regional (31%)
Spread to Regional Lymph Nodes
- Distant (38%)
Cancer Has Metastasized
- Unknown (11%)
SEER 18 2006-2012, All Races, Both Sexes by SEER Summary Stage 2000
Number of New Cases and DeathsShow More
How Common Is This Cancer?
Compared to other cancers, esophageal cancer is relatively rare.
|Common Types of Cancer||Estimated New
|1.||Breast Cancer (Female)||246,660||40,450|
|2.||Lung and Bronchus Cancer||224,390||158,080|
|4.||Colon and Rectum Cancer||134,490||49,190|
|6.||Melanoma of the Skin||76,380||10,130|
|9.||Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer||62,700||14,240|
Esophageal cancer represents 1.0% of all new cancer cases in the U.S.
In 2016, it is estimated that there will be 16,910 new cases of esophageal cancer and an estimated 15,690 people will die of this disease.
Who Gets This Cancer?
Esophageal cancer is more common in men than women, and it is associated with older age, heavy alcohol use and tobacco use. The number of new cases of esophageal cancer was 4.3 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2009-2013 cases.
Esophageal cancer is most frequently diagnosed among people aged 65-74.
SEER 18 2009-2013, All Races, Both Sexes
- All Races
- Asian /
- American Indian /
SEER 18 2009-2013, Age-Adjusted
Who Dies From This Cancer?
Esophageal cancer is the eleventh leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The number of deaths was 4.1 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2009-2013 deaths.
The percent of esophageal cancer deaths is highest among people aged 65-74.
U.S. 2009-2013, All Races, Both Sexes
- All Races
- Asian /
- American Indian /
U.S. 2009-2013, Age-Adjusted
Trends in RatesShow More
Changes Over Time
Keeping track of the number of new cases, deaths, and survival over time (trends) can help scientists understand whether progress is being made and where additional research is needed to address challenges, such as improving screening or finding better treatments.
Using statistical models for analysis, rates for new esophageal cancer cases have been falling on average 1.4% each year over the last 10 years. Death rates have been falling on average 0.8% each year over 2004-2013. 5-year survival trends are shown below the figure.
|5-Year Relative Survival||4.0%||5.6%||8.6%||10.0%||11.6%||18.9%||20.2%||18.7%|
SEER 9 Incidence & U.S. Mortality 1975-2013, All Races, Both Sexes. Rates are Age-Adjusted.
More About This CancerShow More
Cancer and the Esophagus
Esophageal cancer starts at the inside lining of the esophagus and spreads outward through the other layers as it grows. The two most common forms of esophageal cancer are:
- Squamous cell carcinoma that forms in squamous cells, the thin, flat cells lining the esophagus. This cancer is most often found in the upper and middle part of the esophagus, but can occur anywhere along the esophagus. This is also called epidermoid carcinoma.
- Adenocarcinoma that begins in glandular (secretory) cells. Glandular cells in the lining of the esophagus produce and release fluids such as mucus. Adenocarcinomas usually form in the lower part of the esophagus, near the stomach.
Here are some resources for learning more about esophageal cancer.
- About risk factors for esophageal cancer
- About symptoms and diagnosis of esophageal cancer
- About treatment options for esophageal cancer
- About clinical trials
- About cancer prevention
All statistics in this report are based on statistics from SEER and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Most can be found within:
Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Miller D, Bishop K, Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2013, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2013/, based on November 2015 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2016.
All material in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated.
SEER Cancer Statistics Factsheets: Esophageal Cancer. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/esoph.html
This factsheet focuses on population statistics that are based on the US population. Because these statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. To see tailored statistics, browse the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. To see statistics for a specific state, go to the State Cancer Profiles.
The statistics presented in this factsheet are based on the most recent data available, most of which can be found in the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. In some cases, different year spans may be used. Estimates for the current year are based on past data.
Cancer is a complex topic. There is a wide range of information available. This factsheet does not address causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care, or decision making, although it provides links to information in many of these areas.