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This year, an estimated 17,990 adults (14,440 men and 3,550 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with esophageal cancer. It is estimated that 15,210 deaths (12,220 men and 2,990 women) from this disease will occur this year. Esophageal cancer is the seventh most common cause of cancer death among men.
Overall, the five-year survival rate (percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases) of people with esophageal cancer is about 17%.
However, survival rates depend on several factors, including the stage (or extent) of the cancer at the time of diagnosis. The five-year survival rate of people with cancer located only in the esophagus is about 38%. The five-year rate for those with disease that has spread regionally is 20%; if it has spread to distant organs, about 3%.
Cancer survival statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of people with this type of cancer in the United States each year, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with esophageal cancer. Because the survival statistics are measured in five-year intervals, they may not represent advances made in the treatment or diagnosis of this cancer. Learn more about understanding statistics.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2013.