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Cancer mortality projections for selected cancers

Projected trends of mortality for selected common cancers are presented here using the same methodology as for the incidence projections.1

The mortality projections statistics presented for selected cancers in the UK is for 2011 to 2030 based on actual mortality data for 1971-2010.

About the cancer mortality projections project

Projected trends of mortality for all cancers combined are presented here using the same methodology proposed by a team at the Wolfson Institute.1

Following the cancer incidence projections project undertaken by a team at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, as part of a Cancer Research UK programme grant, the team provided cancer mortality projections using the same methodology.1 The projections of mortality data from 2011 to 2030 were based on the actual mortality data for 1971-2010 and were kindly provided on request by the Wolfson Institute.2

section reviewed 23/04/13
section updated 23/04/13

Projected change by cancer type

The European age-standardised mortality rate for all cancers in all persons is predicted to fall by almost 17 per cent between 2010 and 2030. Ovarian cancer will see the largest decline in mortality rates with a reduction of 43%, decreasing from 9 to 5 women per 100,000 by 2030. Large decreases in mortality rates for all persons are also expected in testicular, stomach, female breast, and bowel cancers and also in non-Hodgkin lymphoma, myeloma and leukaemia, which will all see reductions of more than 20% by 2030. The mortality rate for all persons for some cancers is, however, expected to increase, of note, liver cancer is predicted to increase by 39%, from 4.2 to 5.9 people per 100,00 by 2030 (Figure 6.1).

Figure 6.1: Selected Common Cancers, Percentage Change in European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, Persons, UK, 2010-2030

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*Brain and central nervous system (CNS), invasive tumours only (C70-C72)
**Female breast cancer
***Bowel cancer including anal cancers (C18-C21)

****Oral cancer includes cancers of the lip, tongue, mouth, parotid and salivary glands, tonsil, oropharynx, nasopharynx, piriform sinus, hypopharynx and other and ill-defined sites of the lip, oral cavity and pharynx (C00-C14)

The mortality rate for all cancers in males is expected to fall by more than 18% between 2010 and 2030. Stomach cancer will see the largest decline in male mortality rates with a reduction of 44%, decreasing from 7 to 4 men per 100,000 by 2030 (Figure 6.2).

The age-standardised rates for most cancers in males are expected to fall between 2010 and 2030. Of note, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, bowel and lung cancers are expected to have large decreases (of 35%, 26% and 19% respectively) but large decreases are also expected in some of the less common sites.

In contrast, liver cancer mortality rates are expected to increase by 45% from 6.7 to 8.3 men per 100,000 by 2030 and oral cancers are expected to increase 21% from 4.2 to 5.1 men per 100,000 in the same period. Skin cancer mortality rates are also expected to increase, but not by as much, increasing by 5% from 3.3 to 3.5 men per 100,000.

Figure 6.2: Selected Common Cancers, Percentage Change in European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, Males, UK, 2010-2030

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*Brain and central nervous system (CNS), invasive tumours only (C70-C72)
**Bowel cancer including anal cancers (C18-C21)
***Oral cancer includes cancers of the lip, tongue, mouth, parotid and salivary glands, tonsil, oropharynx, nasopharynx, piriform sinus, hypopharynx and other and ill-defined sites of the lip, oral cavity and pharynx (C00-C14)

The mortality rate for all cancers in females is expected to fall by almost 17% between 2010 and 2030 and although ovarian cancer is expected to see the largest decline in mortality rates in persons overall, it is only the second largest decline in females alone. The largest decline expected in female mortality rates is in non-Hodgkin lymphoma, reducing by 45%, from 3.8 to 2.1 women per 100,000 by 2030 (Figure 6.3).

The age-standardised rates for most cancers in females are expected to fall between 2010 and 2030. In addition to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, stomach and breast cancers are expected to have large decreases (of 39% and 28% respectively) but large decreases are also expected in some of the less common sites.

In contrast, liver cancer mortality rates are expected to increase by 25% from 3.0 to 3.7 women per 100,000 by 2030 and oral cancers are expected to increase by almost 24% from 1.6 to 2 women per 100,000 in the same period. Skin and lung cancer mortality rates are also expected to increase, but not by as much, skin cancer rates increasing by nearly 7% from 2.0 to 2.2 women per 100,000 and lung by 4% from 31.3 to 32.5 women per 100,000.

Figure 6.3: Selected Common Cancers, Percentage Change in European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, Females, UK, 2010-2030

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*Brain and central nervous system (CNS), invasive tumours only (C70-C72)
**Bowel cancer including anal cancers (C18-C21)
***Oral cancer includes cancers of the lip, tongue, mouth, parotid and salivary glands, tonsil, oropharynx, nasopharynx, piriform sinus, hypopharynx and other and ill-defined sites of the lip, oral cavity and pharynx (C00-C14)

section reviewed 25/09/12
section updated 25/09/12

Projected mortality changes for the most common cancers

Lung cancer is set to remain the most common cause of cancer death for persons in 2030 with more than twice as many deaths than the expected second most common cause of cancer death, bowel cancer (Table 6.1). Stomach cancer was the fourth most common cause of cancer death in 1990 but the number of deaths halved between 1990 and 2010 from around 9,800 deaths to around 5,000 deaths. However, by 2030 stomach cancer is expected to no longer be one of the 10 most common causes of cancer death, with around 4,500 deaths per year expected to be due to stomach cancer. Liver cancer had around 1,600 deaths in 1990 and was the seventeenth most common cause of cancer death. It is expected to become the seventh most common cause of cancer death by 2030, being the cause of almost 8,000 deaths.

In 2010 the four most common causes of cancer deaths were female breast, lung, bowel and prostate cancers, which accounted for almost half (46.5%) of all cancer deaths. However, these projections suggest that female breast cancer will fall to being the fifth most common cause of cancer death in persons in 2030 from being the third most common in 1990, and that it will be replaced by pancreatic cancer, which is expected to be responsible for 11,500 deaths per year by 2030.

Table 6.1: The 10 Most Common Causes of Cancer Death in Persons, UK, 1990, 2010 and 2030

Cancer Site 1990 Cancer Site 2010 Cancer Site 2030
Lung 39,176 Lung 34,859 Lung 44,986
Bowel* 19,365 Bowel* 16,013 Bowel* 19,032
Breast** 15,141 Breast** 11,556 Prostate 16,304
Stomach 9,795 Prostate 10,721 Pancreas 11,449
Prostate 8,926 Pancreas 7,901 Breast** 11,133
Pancreas 6,935 Oesophagus 7,610 Oesophagus 10,087
Oesophagus 5,979 Stomach 4,960 Liver 7,918
Bladder 5,468 Bladder 4,907 Bladder 6,272
Ovary 4,528 Leukaemia 4,504 Leukaemia 5,500
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 3,998 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 4,452 Kidney 5,097

*Bowel cancer including anal cancers (C18-C21)
**Female breast cancer

In males, lung cancer is expected to remain the most common cause of cancer deaths in 2030. The number of prostate cancer deaths is expected to almost double from 1990 to 2030 and it will replace bowel cancer as the second most common cause of cancer death in men. Liver cancer deaths are also expected to become more common becoming one of the ten most common causes of cancer death in males by 2030, responsible for nearly 5,000 deaths (Table 6.2).

Table 6.2: The 10 Most Common Causes of Cancer Death in Males, UK, 1990, 2010 and 2030

Cancer Site 1990 Cancer Site 2010 Cancer Site 2030
Lung 26,874 Lung 19,410 Lung 23,896
Bowel* 9,549 Prostate 10,721 Prostate 16,304
Prostate 8,926 Bowel* 8,705 Bowel* 10,546
Stomach 5,849 Oesophagus 5,105 Oesophagus 7,297
Bladder 3,657 Pancreas 3,872 Pancreas 5,851
Oesophagus 3,554 Bladder 3,294 Liver 4,946
Pancreas 3,369 Stomach 3,102 Bladder 4,461
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 2,129 Leukaemia 2,526 Leukaemia 3,299
Leukaemia 2,055 Kidney 2,451 Kidney 3,050
Brain & CNS**, Invasive 1,752 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 2,402 Stomach 2,803

*Bowel cancer including anal cancers (C18-C21)
**Brain and central nervous system (CNS), invasive tumours only (C70-C72)

In females, lung cancer had risen from being the second most common cause of cancer death in 1990 to the most common cause of cancer death in 2010 and is expected to continue to be by 2030. In 2030 deaths caused by stomach cancer are expected to have fallen to around 1,700 and that it will cease to be one of the top ten causes of cancer death, having previously been fifth most common cause of cancer death in females in 1990, when it was responsible for nearly 4,000 deaths. In contrast, liver cancer has increasingly been the cause of cancer death since 1990 and is expected to be one of the ten most common causes of cancer deaths in females in 2030, when it is expected to be responsible for almost 3,000 deaths (Table 6.3).

Table 6.3: The 10 Most Common Cause of Cancer Death in Females, UK, 1990, 2010 and 2030

Cancer Site 1990 Cancer Site 2010 Cancer Site 2030
Breast 15,141 Lung 15,449 Lung 21,090
Lung 12,302 Breast 11,556 Breast 11,133
Bowel* 9,816 Bowel* 7,308 Bowel* 8,486
Ovary 4,528 Ovary 4,295 Pancreas 5,597
Stomach 3,946 Pancreas 4,029 Ovary 3,448
Pancreas 3,566 Oesophagus 2,505 Liver 2,972
Oesophagus 2,425 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 2,050 Oesophagus 2,790
Cervix 1,976 Leukaemia 1,978 Uterus 2,476
Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 1,869 Uterus 1,937 Leukaemia 2,201
Bladder 1,811 Stomach 1,858 Brain & CNS**, Invasive 2,082

*Bowel cancer including anal cancers (C18-C21)
**Brain and central nervous system (CNS), invasive tumours only (C70-C72)

section reviewed 25/09/12
section updated 25/09/12

Methods

Projected trends of mortality for selected cancers shown here have been created using the same methodology as for the incidence projections.1 There are, however, some differences for the breast and prostate projections. For the incidence projections, an adjustment was made to take account of breast cancer screening and PSA testing effects on the incidence trends. These adjustments were unnecessary in modelling the mortality trends as their influence on the mortality trends will be real.2

The only data used to create these projections are cancer mortality and population data at the UK level. The mortality projections do not take into account either incidence or survival data directly. However, the past trends for both these measures have influenced the past and current mortality rates, due to prevention measures or increases in incidence, or improvements in treatments leading to better survival, for example, and so they have had an effect on the mortality projections indirectly.

section reviewed 25/09/12
section updated 25/09/12

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References for mortality projections for selected cancers

  1. Mistry M, Parkin D, Ahmad A, et al. Cancer incidence in the UK: Projections to the year 2030. Br J Cancer 2011;105:1795–1803.
  2. Sasieni P, et al. Cancer mortality projections in the UK to 2030 (unpublished). Analyses undertaken and data supplied upon request; September 2012.
Updated: 10 September 2012