What is oesophageal cancer?

Also Known As:

  • Gastroesophageal cancer
  • Gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma
  • Cancer of the oesophagus
  • Oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma
  • Oesophageal adenocarcinoma
  • Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma
  • Esophageal adenocarcinoma

Why is RareCan interested in oesophageal cancer?

RareCan is working to accelerate research into oesophageal cancer by making it easier for researchers to connect with people who have this rare form of cancer. You can help us do this by becoming a RareCan member and sharing information with us about your cancer diagnosis. We will then get in touch with you about any research opportunities that might be suitable for you.

We are particularly interested in people with locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic HER2-positive gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma.




Looking for a different cancer type?

Please visit our ‘Rare Cancer List’ to search for your cancer type 

What is oesophageal cancer?

Oesophageal cancer is one that occurs anywhere anywhere in the oesophagus. There are two main types:

  1. oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma
  2. oesophageal adenocarcinoma


There are other types of oesophageal cancer that are even more rare. These include, poorly differentiated neuroendocrine cancers, small cell cancers, and GISTs.

How rare is oesophageal cancer?

In the UK, around 9,000 people are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer each year.

Who does oesophageal cancer affect?

Oesophageal cancer primarily affects people over the age of 60 and it is more common in men.

Useful Links:

If you have oesophageal cancer and are looking for support, we recommend the following websites:

OPA Cancer Charity

OPA Cancer Charity


A charity that aims to support patients with oesophagal and gastric cancers, as well as their families and carers.

Heartburn Cancer Charity

Heartburn Cancer UK


A charity that raises awareness of the dangers of persistent heartburn, GORD and Barret’t’s oesphagus.

Guts UK Charity

A charity that provides expert information and funds research into the digestive system, including the oesophagus and stomach.

Opportunities for Members with oesophageal cancer


The RareCan BioResource

Donating your samples for medical research

Joining RareCan gives you the ability to donate your tissue samples to the BioResource for medical research. Please note that signing up to RareCan does not commit you to donating tissue and you can cancel your membership at any time. If you have oesophageal cancer and would like to find out more, please click the button below.

I have a cancer diagnosis

If you have a cancer diagnosis or you are the parent of a child with a cancer diagnosis, please start here.

I'm a supporter

If you’re a friend or family member of someone with cancer, a nurse, an oncologist, an activist, a fundraiser or you’d simply like to help, please start here.

I'm a researcher

If you are interested in setting up a research project or clinical trial aimed at improving the care people affected by rare cancer receive please start here.