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In this review the preoperative risk assessment and prevention of complications in patients undergoing esophagectomy for cancer is discussed. Age, pulmonary and cardiovascular condition, nutritional status, and neoadjuvant chemo(radio)therapy are known predictive factors. None of these factors is a valid exclusion criterion for esophagectomy, but may help in careful patient selection. Both anesthetists and surgeons play an important role in intraoperative risk reduction by means of appropriate fluid management and application of optimal surgical techniques.