The study included 762 individuals who survived for at least 5 years after surgery for esophageal cancer. The majority of the participants were men, aged above 70 years, who underwent their surgery after the year 2007, and had tumor histology of adenocarcinoma. The vast majority of the patients had early pathological tumor stage (Table 1).
The survival of the total cohort was marginally lower than the background population 6 years after surgery (96.1%, 95% CI 94.3–97.9), but decreased almost linearly each year to 83.5% (95% CI 79.5–87.6) in year 10 (Table 2).
The reduction in relative survival during the follow-up decreased more in men [from 96.0% (95% CI 93.8–98.1%) in year 6 to 81.8% (95% CI 76.8-86.8%) in year 10] than in women [from 96.4% (95% CI 93.4–99.5%) in year 6 to 88.1% (95% CI 81.5–94.8%) in year 10] (Table 3).
There were no major differences in the decline in relative survival when comparing the different age groups (Table 4).
The relative survival showed similar trends, with a reduction between 6 and 10 years after esophagectomy in all calendar periods, but the survival was worse during earlier calendar periods than in more recent periods (Table 5).
There was a pronounced drop in relative survival in participants with a history of squamous cell carcinoma, i.e., from 94.5% (95% CI 91.2–97.8%) in year 6 to 70.8% (95% CI 64.0–77.6%) in year 10. Participants with a history of adenocarcinoma indicated only a slightly decreased relative survival during follow-up, with a reduction from 96.9% (95% CI 94.8–99.0%) in year 6 to 91.5% (95% CI 86.6–96.3%) in year 10 (Table 6).
The relative survival of esophageal cancer survivors was worse in patients with higher Charlson comorbidity scores (Table 7).
Exclusion of Patients with Smoking- and Alcohol-Related Diagnoses
The relative survival remained inferior to the corresponding background population after exclusion of patients with smoking- and alcohol-related diagnoses. There were minor improvements in relative survival in patients with a history of adenocarcinoma and a moderate improvement in those with a history of squamous cell carcinoma (Table 8).