- Cancer 101: Cancer Explained
- Guide to Breast Cancer
- Skin Cancer Risks
- Patient Comments: Esophageal Cancer - Symptoms and Signs
- Patient Comments: Esophageal Cancer - Prognosis and Stage
- Patient Comments: Esophageal Cancer - Types
- Patient Comments: Esophageal Cancer - Risk Factors
- Patient Comments: Esophageal Cancer - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Esophageal Cancer - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Esophageal Cancer - Surgery
- Patient Comments: Esophageal Cancer - Doctors & Second Opinion
- Patient Comments: Esophageal Cancer - Prognosis & Follow-Up Care
- Find a local Oncologist in your town
- Esophageal cancer facts*
- What is the esophagus?
- What is esophageal cancer?
- What are the causes or risk factors for esophageal cancer?
- What are the symptoms and signs of esophageal cancer?
- How is esophageal cancer diagnosed?
- How is esophageal cancer staged?
- What are the stages of esophageal cancer?
- What are the treatment for esophageal cancer?
- What kinds of doctors treat esophageal cancer?
- What are the statistics related to esophageal cancer?
- What support is available for those with esophageal cancer?
- What is the prognosis with esophageal cancer?
- Can esophageal cancer be prevented?
Quick GuideHealthy Eating: Super Steps to Boost Digestive Health
What is the prognosis with esophageal cancer?
Most often, esophageal cancer is a treatable disease but not a curable one.
Patients who have severe Barrett's esophagus (some consider this stage T0 or precancerous) and those with few cancer cells tend to have relatively successful outcomes.
The overall 5-year survival rate averages between 5% to 30%. This is especially low because patients tend to present late in their disease when the cancer has already spread.
The prognoses for squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma are about the same.
Can esophageal cancer be prevented?
Alcohol abuse is also related to squamous cell carcinoma, especially when combined with tobacco product use. Alcohol products should be used in moderation.
Esophageal adenocarcinoma is associated with GERD and the development of Barrett's esophagus. It is important to limit the risk factors for developing esophageal reflux. These include:
- losing weight,
- moderating alcohol use,
- avoiding excess anti-inflammatory medication use (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen), and
- avoiding smoking.
If symptoms of GERD develop, they should be assessed and treated by your health care professional. Should symptoms persist or worsen, the recommendation may be to undergo endoscopy to determine whether Barrett's esophagus is present.
Barrett's esophagus needs to be managed and monitored to assess whether there is progression of cell damage. This may include endoscopic ablation, or killing of abnormal tissue using different techniques including radiofrequency ablation, photodynamic therapy, or cryotherapy.
"Cancer Facts and Figures 2015." American Cancer Society.
Steevens, J., et al. "Alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking and risk of subtypes of oesophageal and gastric cancer: a prospective cohort study." Gut. 59:1 (2010): 39-48.
Varghese, T. K., et al. "The society of thoracic surgeons guidelines on the diagnosis and staging of patients with esophageal cancer." Annals of Thoracic Surgery. 96:1 (2013): 346-356.