A retrospective comparison of surgery alone and surgery combined with pre- and post-operative radiotherapy was performed for the treatment of squamous carcinoma of the mid and upper oesophagus. Twenty-five ostensibly curative resections for squamous carcinoma of the oesophagus were performed in the period 1974-1987 by the Lewis oesophagectomy. Patients were well matched for histological stage, sex (14F 11M) and age (range 23-69 years). Five year survival for patients receiving surgery alone was 54.5%. Survival for patients who in addition received adjunctive pre- and postoperative radiotherapy of 5700 cGY was not significantly different. Adjunctive pre- and post-operative radiotherapy was considered to facilitate surgical resections but long term survival was not improved.