Survival for oesophageal cancer

Survival depends on many factors. No one can tell you exactly how long you will live.

Below are general statistics based on large groups of people. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case. 

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis). You can also talk about this with the Cancer Research UK information nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

About these statistics

The terms 1 year survival and 5 year survival don't mean that you will only live for 1 or 5 years.

The NHS, other health organisations, and researchers collect information. They watch what happens to people with cancer in the years after their diagnosis. 5 years is a common time point to measure survival. But some people live much longer than this.

5 year survival is the number of people who have not died from their cancer within 5 years after diagnosis.

Survival by stage

There are no UK-wide statistics available for oesophageal cancer survival by stage.

Survival statistics are available for each stage of oesophageal cancer in England. These figures are for people diagnosed between 2013 and 2017. 

Please bear in mind that these statistics do not take into account what treatment people had.

Stage 1

Almost 55 out of 100 people (almost 55%) with stage 1 oesophageal cancer will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they're diagnosed. 

Stage 2

30 out of 100 people (30%) with stage 2 oesophageal cancer will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they're diagnosed. 

Stage 3

Around 15 out of 100 people (around 15%) with stage 3 oesophageal cancer will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they're diagnosed. 

Stage 4

There are no 5 year survival statistics for stage 4 cancer because sadly many people don't live for that long after diagnosis.

The Office for National Statistics does provide statistics for 1 year survival for people with stage 4 oesophageal cancer.

(Please remember, this doesn't mean you will only live 1 year. It relates to the number of people who are still alive 1 year after their diagnosis of cancer. Some of these people might live longer than 1 year.)

Around 20 out of 100 people (around 20%) with stage 4 oesophageal cancer will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after they are diagnosed.

Survival for all stages of oesophageal cancer

For people with oesophageal cancer in England:

  • more than 45 out of every 100 (more than 45%) will survive their cancer for 1 year or more after they are diagnosed
  • more than 15 out of every 100 (more than 15%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more
  • more than 10 out of 100 (more than 10%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more

What affects survival?

Your outlook depends on the stage of the cancer when it was diagnosed. This means how big it is and whether it has spread.

The type of cancer and grade of the cancer cells can also affect your survival. Grade means how abnormal the cells look under the microscope.

Your general fitness and other health conditions also affect survival. Health conditions could affect the treatments you can have. And good general fitness might help you cope better with your cancer and treatment.

More statistics

For more in-depth information about survival and oesophageal cancer, go to our Cancer Statistics section

Related links