The oesophagus (gullet) is the tube by which food is taken from the mouth into the stomach. Cancers here are more common in heavy smokers and in people who have drunk a lot of alcohol. Tobacco contains many chemicals that encourage cancer (carcinogens) and alcohol damages normal cells. It especially affects men over 60 years old. The American English spelling is esophagus.
Cancers of the oesophagus caused 0.8% of all deaths worldwide in 2002, an average of 72 deaths per million people per year and 6% of all deaths from cancer.