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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 14th most common cause of cancer death in the UK (2011), accounting for 3% of all deaths from cancer. Liver cancer is the 12th most common cause of cancer death among men in the UK (2011), accounting for 3% of all male deaths from cancer.1-3 Among women in the UK, liver cancer is the 13th most common cause of cancer death (2011), accounting for 2% of all female cancer deaths.

In 2011 there were 4,106 deaths from liver cancer in the UK (Table 2.1): 2,440 (59%) in men and 1,666 (41%) in women, giving a male:female ratio of around 15:10.1-3 The crude mortality rate shows that there are 8 liver cancer deaths for every 100,000 males in the UK, and 5 for every 100,000 females.

The European age-standardised mortality rates (AS rates) are significantly higher in Scotland compared with England and Wales (males only) and are significantly lower in Northern Ireland compared with England (females only) (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, 2011

England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland UK
Male Deaths 1,994 117 263 66 2,440
Crude Rate 7.6 7.8 10.3 7.4 7.9
AS Rate 5.9 5.5 7.8 6.5 6.0
AS Rate - 95% LCL 5.6 4.5 6.9 4.9 5.8
AS Rate - 95% UCL 6.1 6.5 8.8 8.0 6.3
Female Deaths 1,391 87 157 31 1,666
Crude Rate 5.2 5.6 5.8 3.4 5.2
AS Rate 3.3 3.0 3.4 2.2 3.2
AS Rate - 95% LCL 3.1 2.4 2.8 1.4 3.1
AS Rate - 95% UCL 3.4 3.7 3.9 2.9 3.4
Persons Deaths 3,385 204 420 97 4,106
Crude Rate 6.4 6.7 8.0 5.3 6.5
AS Rate 4.5 4.2 5.4 4.1 4.5
AS Rate - 95% LCL 4.3 3.6 4.9 3.3 4.4
AS Rate - 95% UCL 4.6 4.8 5.9 4.9 4.7

Download this table XLS (34KB) PPT (168KB) PDF (26KB)

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

The latest analysis of liver cancer mortality rates throughout the UK reports significant variation, with the highest rates being in parts of northern England and inner city London, whilst the lowest rates occur in southern England and parts of Wales.4

section reviewed 24/01/14
section updated 24/01/14

 

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 2009 and 2011, an average of 48% of liver cancer deaths were in men and women aged 75 years and over, and more than three-quarters were in those aged 65 and over (Figure 2.1).1-3

Age-specific mortality rates rise gradually from around age 50 and more rapidly after age 60, with the highest rates in the 85+ age group. Mortality rates are higher for males than for females in all age groups aged 45-49 and over, and this gap is widest between the ages of 55 and 59, 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 2:1 (Figure 2.1).1-3

Figure 2.1: Liver Cancer (C22), Average Number of Deaths per Year and Age-Specific Mortality Rates, UK, 2009-2011

deaths_crude_liver.swf

Download this chart XLS (59KB) PPT (139KB) PDF (327KB)

section reviewed 24/01/14
section updated 24/01/14

 

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 rate increased 306% between 1971-1973 and 2009-2011. The rise is bigger for women, with rates increasing by almost four times between 1971-1973 and 2009-2011. Over the last decade (between 2000-2002 and 2009-2011), the European AS mortality rates have increased by 40% and 39% in males and females, respectively. This increase in mortality rates reflects the increase in incidence rates of liver cancer seen in Great Britain since the mid-1970s. The increase in mortality rates reflects the rise in liver cancer incidence for which there are likely to be several reasons including prevalence of major risk factors for liver cancer, 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, 1971-2011

mort_asr_uk_liver.swf

Download this chart XLS (56KB) PPT (134KB) PDF (45KB)

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 by nearly 740% between 1971-1973 and 2009-2011.

Figure 2.3: Liver Cancer (C22), European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, By Age, Persons/Males/Females, UK, 1971-2011

mort_asr_age_p_liver.swf

Download this chart XLS (57KB) PPT (134KB) PDF (43KB)

section reviewed 24/01/14
section updated 24/01/14

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, March 2013. 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, November 2012. 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, May 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: 24 January 2014