Esophageal Cancer: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 10/2015

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year.  You will also learn some general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

This year, an estimated 16,910 adults (13,460 men and 3,450 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

It is estimated that 15,690 deaths (12,720 men and 2,970 women) from this disease will occur this year. Esophageal cancer is the seventh most common cause of cancer death among men.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate for people with esophageal cancer is 18%. 

However, survival rates depend on several factors, including the stage of the cancer when it is first diagnosed. The 5-year survival rate of people with cancer located only in the esophagus is 40%. The 5-year survival rate for those with disease that has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes is 22%. If it has spread to distant parts of the body, the survival rate is 4%.

It is important to remember that statistics on how many people survive this type of cancer are an estimate. The estimate comes from data based on thousands of people with this cancer in the United States each year. So, your own risk may be different. Doctors cannot say for sure how long anyone will live with esophageal cancer. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. This means that the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2016.

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by this disease. Or, use the menu on the left side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.