Our study provides an update of the incidence of oesophageal cancer in the West Midland region of England and Wales from 1992-96. A total of 2,671 cases of oesophageal cancer were identified during the 5-year study period, with an age-standardised annual incidence (ASR) of 5.24 per 100,000 (95% CI: 5.02, 5.45). Similar numbers of adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma were found. Only 152 (5.6%) had no histology. There was a 5-fold difference in age-standardised annual incidence rates between males and females for adenocarcinoma of oesophagus, but no gender difference for squamous cell carcinoma. The parallel but higher ASR in males compared to females for adenocarcinoma of both oesophagus and cardia merits further investigation. The similarities in the patterns of age- and sex-specific rates and in the socioeconomic profiles could indicate a common aetiology for adenocarcinoma of oesophagus and gastric cardia. Quality control in Cancer Registries needs to focus on the accuracy and consistency of subsite classification to ensure that trends in incidence are identified. In the absence of accurate subsite classification of stomach cancers, the proportions of adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of oesophagus (or the absolute rate of adenocarcinoma of oesophagus) may provide a useful tool in indicating whether adenocarcinoma of gastric cardia is likely to be increasing in incidence.
Copyright 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.