World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 395–401 | Cite as

The Global Burden of Esophageal Cancer: A Disability-Adjusted Life-Year Approach

  • Benjamin J. Di Pardo
  • Nathan W. Bronson
  • Brian S. Diggs
  • Charles R. ThomasJr.
  • John G. Hunter
  • James P. DolanEmail author
Original Scientific Report



Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer worldwide and the sixth leading cause of cancer-related deaths. As a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, its burden on society has yet to be fully characterized. The aim of this study is to examine its global burden through estimation of the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) attributable to it.


Global incidence and mortality estimates for esophageal cancer were obtained from the International Agency for Research on Cancer GLOBOCAN 2008 database. DALYs were calculated, using methodology established by the World Health Organization.


In 2008, 3,955,919 DALYs were attributed to esophageal cancer, at a global rate of 0.58 DALYs per 1000 people annually. Years of life lost (YLL) accounted for 96.8 % of DALYs, while years lived with disability (YLD) accounted for 3.2 %. 83.8 % of the global DALYs occurred in less-developed countries, with most accrued in Eastern Asia, comprising 50.9 % of the total. The highest rate of DALY accrual was in Southern Africa, at 1.62 DALYs per 1000 people annually.


A substantial number of years of life were lost or affected by esophageal cancer worldwide in 2008, with the burden resting disproportionately on less-developed countries. Geographically, the greatest burden is in Eastern Asia. The vast majority of DALYs were due to YLL, rather than YLD, indicating the need to focus resources on disease prevention and early detection. Our findings provide an additional basis upon which to formulate global priorities for interventions that affect DALY reduction in esophageal cancer.


Esophageal Cancer Disability Weight Year Live With Disability Capita Health Expenditure Total DALYs 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Dr. Dolan’s authorship in this publication was supported by the Oregon Clinical and Translational Research Institute (OCTRI), and a grant (no. UL1TR000128) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

One of the authors of this manuscript is the Editor in Chief of the World Journal of Surgery. To avoid privileged treatment of this manuscript during peer review, Dr Hunter’s name was not included as an author during the review process. His contributions were only revealed after this manuscript was finally accepted, nearly 18 months after initial submission and many revisions.

Supplementary material

268_2015_3356_MOESM1_ESM.docx (37 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 36 kb)
268_2015_3356_MOESM2_ESM.docx (16 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 15 kb)


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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benjamin J. Di Pardo
    • 1
  • Nathan W. Bronson
    • 1
  • Brian S. Diggs
    • 1
  • Charles R. ThomasJr.
    • 2
  • John G. Hunter
    • 1
  • James P. Dolan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Gastrointestinal and General Surgery, Department of Surgery, Digestive Health CenterOregon Health and Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiation Medicine, Knight Cancer InstituteOregon Health and Science UniversityPortlandUSA

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