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Oesophageal Cancer

Oesophageal Cancer

9 November 2018

Introduction

Oesophageal cancer is relatively common in our locality. It was the eighteenth commonest cancer in Hong Kong, accounting for 1.4% of all new cancer cases in 2015.

Incidence

There were 426 new cases of oesophageal cancer in 2015, with 334 cases of males and 92 cases of females. The disease is more common among male population and the male to female ratio is about 3.6 to 1. The crude incidence rates were 9.9 for male and 2.3 for female per 100000 population of respective sex. The age-standardised incidence rates were 5.5 for male and 1.2 for female per 100000 standard population.

Trend of incidence

The age-standardised incidence rate for both sexes had a downward trend between 1983 and 2015.

Number of new cases and crude incidence rate of oesophageal cancer by sex, 1983-2000 (View)

Number of new cases and crude incidence rate of oesophageal cancer by sex, 2001-2015 (View)

Age-standardised incidence rate* of oesophageal cancer by sex, 1983-2015

Age-standardised incidence rate of oesophageal cancer by sex, 1983-2015

Notes: * Age-standardised incidence rates are compiled based on the world standard population specified in GPE Discussion Paper Series: No.31, EIP/GPE/EBD, World Health Organization, 2001.
    Data in the above charts from 1996 onwards are compiled based on the population estimates under the "resident population" approach instead of the "extended de facto" approach. Also, the 2016 Population By-census conducted from June to August 2016 provides a benchmark for revising the population figures compiled since the 2011 Population Census. Population-related figures from 2012 to 2015 have been revised accordingly.
    Classification of diseases and causes of death is based on the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) 10th Revision from 2001 onwards. Figures from 2001 onwards may not be comparable with figures for previous years which were compiled based on the ICD 9th Revision.
Sources:   Census and Statistics Department
Department of Health
Hong Kong Cancer Registry, Hospital Authority

 

Mortality

Oesophageal cancer caused 335 deaths in 2016, accounting for 2.4% of all cancer deaths. It was the ninth fatal cancer in Hong Kong. The crude death rates were 8.1 for male and 1.6 for female per 100000 population of respective sex. The age-standardised death rates of oesophageal cancer were 4.2 for male and 0.7 for female per 100000 standard population. 

Trend of mortality

The age-standardised death rate for both sexes had a downward trend between 1981 and 2016.

Number of registered deaths and crude death rate of oesophageal cancer by sex, 1981-2000 (View)

Number of registered deaths and crude death rate of oesophageal cancer by sex, 2001-2016 (View)

Age-standardised death rate* of oesophageal cancer by sex, 1981-2016

Age-standardised death rate of oesophageal cancer by sex, 1981-2016

Notes:

*

Age-standardised death rates are compiled based on the world standard population specified in GPE Discussion Paper Series: No.31, EIP/GPE/EBD, World Health Organization, 2001.

 

 

Data in the above charts from 1996 onwards are compiled based on the population estimates under the "resident population" approach instead of the "extended de facto" approach. Also, the 2016 Population By-census conducted from June to August 2016 provides a benchmark for revising the population figures compiled since the 2011 Population Census. Population-related figures from 2012 to 2015 have been revised accordingly.

 

 

Classification of diseases and causes of death is based on the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) 10th Revision from 2001 onwards. Figures from 2001 onwards may not be comparable with figures for previous years which were compiled based on the ICD 9th Revision.

Sources:

 

Census and Statistics Department
Department of Health

Oesophageal cancer corresponds to codes 150 in ICD-9 and C15 in ICD-10.

Who is at risk of oesophageal cancer?

  • Age: risk increases with age
  • Gender: Oesophageal cancer is more common in men
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol drinking

How can I prevent or lower the risk of oesophageal cancer?

You can prevent or lower the risk of oesophageal cancer by adopting the following healthy lifestyle habits:

  • Avoid alcohol drinking
  • Avoid tobacco smoking. Current smokers can call the Integrated Smoking Cessation Hotline of the Department of Health at 1833 183 for free quit smoking advice and help.

What are the common symptoms of oesophageal cancer?

The usual symptom is difficulty in swallowing. It may progress from difficulty in swallowing solid food to liquid food at the later stage. Other possible symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Central chest discomfort behind the sternum
  • Back discomfort between the shoulder blades
  • Malnutrition
  • Significant weight loss

If you notice any symptoms, you should consult a doctor immediately.

Related information

The Department of Health provides Smoking Cessation Services for smokers including Smoking Cessation Hotline and Smoking Cessation Programme.
To know more about harmful effects of smoking and tobacco control in Hong Kong, please visit the website of Tobacco and Alcohol Control Office.
To know more about health effects of alcohol, please click here.

You can also call our 24-hour Health Education Hotline of the Department of Health 2833 0111 for more health information. Please click here to view the full list of health topics.