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Liver cancer mortality statistics

Mortality statistics for liver cancer by country in the UK, age and trends over time are presented here.

Find out more about the coding and counting of this data

By country in the UK

Liver cancer is the 12th most common cause of cancer death in the UK (2012), accounting for 3% of all deaths from cancer.1-3 Liver cancer is the 12th most common cause of cancer death among men in the UK (2012), accounting for 3% of all male deaths from cancer. Among women in the UK, liver cancer is the 11th most common cause of cancer death (2012), accounting for 2% of all female cancer deaths.

In 2012 there were 4,514 deaths from liver cancer in the UK (Table 2.1): 2,675 (59%) in men and 1,839 (41%) in women, giving a male:female ratio of around 15:10.1-3 The crude mortality rate shows that there are 9 liver cancer deaths for every 100,000 males in the UK, and 6 for every 100,000 females.

The European age-standardised mortality rates (AS rates) do not differ significantly between the constituent countries of the UK for males or females (Table 2.1).1-3

Table 2.1: Liver Cancer (C22), Number of Deaths, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Mortality Rates per 100,000 population, UK, 2012

England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland UK
Male Deaths 2,230 132 249 64 2,675
Crude Rate 8.5 8.7 9.7 7.2 8.5
AS Rate 6.5 6.0 7.1 6.2 6.5
AS Rate - 95% LCL 6.2 4.9 6.2 4.7 6.2
AS Rate - 95% UCL 6.7 7.0 8.0 7.7 6.7
Female Deaths 1,514 98 182 45 1,839
Crude Rate 5.6 6.3 6.7 4.8 5.7
AS Rate 3.4 3.7 3.8 3.4 3.4
AS Rate - 95% LCL 3.2 2.9 3.2 2.4 3.3
AS Rate - 95% UCL 3.6 4.4 4.3 4.4 3.6
Persons Deaths 3,744 230 431 109 4,514
Crude Rate 7.0 7.5 8.1 6.0 7.1
AS Rate 4.8 4.7 5.3 4.7 4.9
AS Rate - 95% LCL 4.7 4.1 4.8 3.8 4.7
AS Rate - 95% UCL 5.0 5.3 5.8 5.5 5.0

Download this table XLS (34KB) PPT (165KB) PDF (39KB)

95% LCL and 95% UCL are the 95% lower and upper confidence limits around the AS Rate

Analysis of liver cancer mortality rates throughout the UK shows significant variation between health boundaries for both males and females, with the highest rates being in parts of Northern England and inner city London, and the lowest rates in Southern England and parts of Wales.4

section reviewed 08/09/14
section updated 08/09/14

 

By age

Liver cancer mortality is strongly related to age, with the highest mortality rates being in older men and women. In the UK between 2010 and 2012, an average of 48% of liver cancer deaths were in men and women aged 75 years and over, and around three-quarters (76%) were in those aged 65 years and over (Figure 2.1).1-3

Age-specific mortality rates rise gradually from around age 50-54 years, and more rapidly after age 60-64 years, with the highest rates in the 80-84 and 85+ age groups for males and the 85+ age group for females. Mortality rates are similar between males and females until age 45-49, after which time rates are higher for males than for females and this gap is widest in the 50-54 age group, when the male:female mortality ratio of age-specific rates (to account for the different proportions of males to females in each age group) is more than 23:10 (Figure 2.1).1-3

Figure 2.1: Liver Cancer (C22), Average Number of Deaths per Year and Age-Specific Mortality Rates, UK, 2010-2012

deaths_crude_liver.swf

Download this chart XLS (57KB) PPT (138KB) PDF (75KB)

section reviewed 08/09/14
section updated 08/09/14

 

Trends over time

Liver cancer mortality rates have increased overall in the UK since the early 1970s (Figure 2.2).1-3 For males, European AS mortality rates increased more than three-fold between 1971-1973 and 2010-2012. The rise is bigger for females, with rates increasing more than four-fold between 1971-1973 and 2010-2012. Over the last decade (between 2001-2003 and 2010-2012), European AS mortality rates have increased by 44% and 50% in males and females, respectively. The increase in liver cancer mortality rates reflects the increase in incidence rates. There are likely to be several reasons for this, including increasing past prevalence of major risk factors such as heavy alcohol consumption and infection with the hepatitis B and C viruses.5,6

Figure 2.2: Liver Cancer (C22), European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, UK, 1971-2012

mort_asr_uk_liver.swf

Download this chart XLS (56KB) PPT (134KB) PDF (46KB)

Liver cancer mortality rates have increased overall for all of the broad age groups in the UK since the early 1970s (Figure 2.3).1-3 The largest increases have been in people aged 80+, with European AS mortality rates increasing nearly eight-fold between 1971-1973 and 2010-2012. These patterns closely reflect the increase in liver cancer incidence rates by age.

Figure 2.3: Liver Cancer (C22), European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, By Age, UK, 1971-2012

mort_asr_age_p_liver.swf

Download this chart XLS (58KB) PPT (135KB) PDF (43KB)

section reviewed 08/09/14
section updated 08/09/14

In Europe and worldwide

Liver cancer is the 7th most common cause of cancer death in Europe, with around 62,200 deaths from liver cancer in 2012 (4% of the total). In Europe (2012), the highest World age-standardised mortality rates for liver cancer are in the Republic of Moldova for both men and women; the lowest rates are in Norway for men and Belarus for women. UK liver cancer mortality rates are estimated to be the 11th lowest in males in Europe, and 17th lowest in females.6 These data are broadly in line with Europe-specific data available elsewhere.5

Liver cancer is the 2nd most common cause of cancer death worldwide, with more than 745,000 deaths from liver cancer in 2012 (9% of the total). Liver cancer mortality rates are highest in Eastern Asia and lowest in South Central Asia, but this partly reflects varying data quality worldwide.6

Use our interactive map to explore the data for liver cancer.

section reviewed 27/05/14
section updated 27/05/14

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References for liver cancer mortality

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, January 2014. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/all-releases.html?definition=tcm%3A77-27475.
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, March 2014. Similar data can be found here: http://gro-scotland.gov.uk/statistics/theme/vital-events/general/ref-tables/index.html.
  3. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, December 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.nisra.gov.uk/demography/default.asp22.htm.
  4. Liver cancer (C22) European age-standardised mortality rates by UK Health Boundaries, 2009-2011. These data were extracted from the UK Cancer Information Service, version 4.5b 001 on 17/10/2013.
  5. Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, et al. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr, accessed December 2013.
  6. Ferlay J, Steliarova-Foucher E, Lortet-Tieulent J, et al.Cancer incidence and mortality patterns in Europe: Estimates for 40 countries in 2012. European Journal of Cancer (2013) 49, 1374-1403.
Updated: 8 September 2014