Countries With The Highest Rates Of Esophageal Cancer

A diagram representing the metastasis of esophageal cancer.
A diagram representing the metastasis of esophageal cancer.

Oesophageal cancer is a type of cancer where malignant tumors occur in the esophagus. Cancer starts in the esophagus and may spread to other parts of the body. The disease mostly affects older people. Identified risk factors include heredity, smoking, a diet devoid of fruits and vegetables, obesity and high alcohol consumption. Nearly 80% of oesophageal cancer cases are reported in developing countries. The following are some of the countries with the highest incidence of oesophageal cancer.


Cases of oesophageal cancer in Malawi occur at a rate of 24.2 per 100,000 age-standardized people. Malawi is a developing country and has low health education rates, especially in rural areas. At the onset of the disease, most patients go to see the traditional village healers, who are not equipped to offer modern treatment. Malawi also has high HIV/AIDS rates, which affect the immune system of patients rendering them susceptible to cancer. Poverty also is another factor because the citizens are unable to access proper medication and nutrition. Drinking of locally brewed alcohol also is detrimental to the digestive systems of patients. Smoking is a minor contributor to cases of oesophageal cancer in Malawi. Inadequate health facilities have made the disease prevalent in the country.


Turkmenistan has an oesophageal cancer rate of 19.7 per 100,000 age-standardized people. The high cases of the disease have been attributed to tobacco and opium use, low levels of health education, poor nutrition and consumption of hot liquids, especially tea.


Kenya has the second highest rates of oesophageal cancer in the African continent at 17.6 per 100,000 age-standardized people. Oesophageal cancer in Kenya has geographical variations, with the highest cases recorded in the Western region. The disease is more prevalent in men than women. A variety of factors has been attributed to the prevalence of oesophageal cancer in Kenya. These factors include high alcohol consumption, smoking, hot beverage consumption, cooking by use of firewood and charcoal and poor nutrition. Drinking of locally brewed alcohol is also a risk factor in some areas of the country. Some patients resort to services from traditional healers while others cannot access modern health facilities, especially in the countryside. These factors have contributed significantly to the prevalence of the disease.


Mongolia has an oesophageal cancer rate of 17.6 per 100,000 age-standardized. The country is part of an Asian belt where high incidences of the disease with other nations like Iran and China has been reported. Risk factors in Mongolia include high alcohol consumption, malnutrition, smoking and other ailments of digestives system. People with low education levels and low socio-economic ability are more at risk because they cannot access proper medical treatment.

Other Countries With High Rates Of Oesophageal Cancer

Other countries with high numbers of oesophageal cancer according to rates per 100,000 age-standardized people include Uganda (17.1), Lesotho (15.1), Tajikistan (14.7), Burundi (12.8), Bangladesh (12.7), China (12.5), Somalia (10.5), Kazakhstan (10.1), South African Republic (9.9), Afghanistan (9.6), Zimbabwe (9.6), Comoros (9.6), Mozambique (9.5), South Sudan (9.4), Tanzania (9.2), Botswana (9.2). A variety of treatment options for oesophageal cancer includes surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, targeted therapy and endoscopic therapies. When the cancer is advanced, palliative treatment is mostly used, where the goal is to relieve the patient from the discomfort of pain.

Countries With The Highest Rates Of Oesophageal Cancer

RankCountryAge-Standardised Rate per 100,000 (World)
13South African Republic9.9
18South Sudan9.4

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