Oesophageal cancer preventability statistics

Oesophageal cancer incidence

In the UK in 2013, 8,779 cases of oesophageal cancer were diagnosed.

Of these cancer cases, 5,848 were in men and 2,931 were in women.

Oesophageal cancer mortality

Oesophageal cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer death in the UK. In 2013, there were 7,750 deaths from oesophageal cancer.

Of these deaths, 5,275 were men and 2,475 were women.

Proportion preventable

By far the most important thing for reducing risk of oesophageal cancer is not smoking. But scientists also estimate the following proportion of oesophageal cancer cases could be prevented in the UK through healthy changes:

Lifestyle factor Increase or decrease risk? Approximate % preventable
Alcohol (squamous cell carcinoma) Increase 48
Body fatness (adenocarcenoma) Increase 31
Total   34

There is strong evidence that maté, a hot drink popular in South America, also increases risk.

Find out more about preventability estimates or, for more detailed information, download appendix A of our policy report.


The figures come from the following sources: incidence for EnglandWalesScotland and Northern Ireland; mortality for England and WalesScotland and Northern Ireland.