Symptoms of oesophageal cancer

Symptoms of oesophageal cancer can include difficulty swallowing, indigestion or heartburn and weight loss. 

Risks and causes

Factors that increase the risk of oesophageal cancer include being older or overweight, smoking and drinking alcohol, and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease. 

Getting diagnosed

You usually start by seeing your GP and they might refer you to a specialist and organise tests. Find out more about tests and screening for oesophageal cancer. 

Stages, types and grades

The stage of a cancer tells you how big it is and whether it has spread. It helps your doctor to know which treatment you need.


Survival depends on many factors including the stage and type of your oesophageal cancer. 


You might have surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy or a combination of these treatments. This depends on a number of factors including the stage and type of your oesophageal cancer. 

Living with oesophageal cancer

There is support available to help you cope during and after oesophageal cancer treatment. This includes diet tips to help you eat well.

Advanced cancer

Advanced oesophageal cancer means that a cancer that began in the food pipe (gullet) has spread to another part of the body.

Research and clinical trials

Research trials aim to find out if new treatments are safe and better than those currently available for oesophageal cancer.

Last reviewed: 
02 Dec 2019
Coronavirus and cancer

We know it’s a worrying time for people with cancer, we have information to help.

Read our information about coronavirus and cancer