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Myeloma incidence statistics

Incidence statistics for myeloma by country in the UK, age and trends over time are presented here. There are also data on lifetime risk, by geography, socio-economic variation, ethnicity, and prevalence. Incidence data on the myeloma precursor condition monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) are also presented. 

Find out more about the coding and counting of this data

 

By country in the UK

Myeloma is the 17th most common cancer in the UK (2011), accounting for around 1% of all new cases. In males, it is the 15th most common cancer (2% of the male total) and the 17th in females (1%). 

In 2011, there were 4,792 new cases of myeloma in the UK (Table 1.1): 2,660 (56%) in men and 2,132 (44%) in women, giving a male:female ratio of around 12:10.1-4 The crude incidence rate shows that there are 9 new myeloma cases for every 100,000 males in the UK and 7 for every 100,000 females. 

The European age-standardised incidence (AS) rates for males are significantly higher in England compared to Wales, with no other differences between countries. The rates do not differ significantly between the constituent countries of the UK for females.1-4

Table 1.1: Myeloma (C90), Number of New Cases, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2011

England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland UK
Male Cases 2,254 114 221 71 2,660
Crude Rate 8.6 7.6 8.7 8.0 8.6
AS Rate 6.7 5.1 6.6 7.0 6.6
AS Rate - 95% LCL 6.4 4.2 5.8 5.4 6.4
AS Rate - 95% UCL 7.0 6.1 7.5 8.6 6.9
Female Cases 1,785 114 185 48 2,132
Crude Rate 6.6 7.3 6.8 5.2 6.6
AS Rate 4.4 4.3 4.2 3.5 4.4
AS Rate - 95% LCL 4.2 3.5 3.6 2.5 4.2
AS Rate - 95% UCL 4.7 5.1 4.8 4.5 4.6
Persons Cases 4,039 228 406 119 4,792
Crude Rate 7.6 7.4 7.7 6.6 7.6
AS Rate 5.5 4.6 5.3 5.1 5.4
AS Rate - 95% LCL 5.3 4.0 4.8 4.2 5.2
AS Rate - 95% UCL 5.6 5.2 5.8 6.0 5.6

Download this table XLS (33KB) PPT (168KB) PDF (26KB)

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

section reviewed 17/04/14
section updated 17/04/14

 

By age

Myeloma incidence is strongly related to age, with the highest incidence rates being in older men and women. In the UK between 2009 and 2011, an average of 43% of cases were diagnosed in people aged 75 years and over (Figure 1.1).1-4

Incidence rates rise sharply from around age 55-59, with the highest rates in the 85+ age group. Incidence rates are higher for males than females in those aged 40-44 and over (the difference is not significant at younger ages), and this gap is widest in those aged 85+, when the male:female ratio of age-specific incidence rate (to account for the different proportions of males to females in each age group) is around 19:10.1-4

Figure 1.1: Myeloma (C90), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates, UK, 2009-2011

cases_crude_myeloma.swf

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section reviewed 17/04/14
section updated 17/04/14

 

Trends over time

 Myeloma incidence rates have increased overall in Great Britain since the mid-1970s. For males, European AS rates increased by 89% between 1975-1977 and 2009-2011. This rise is smaller for females, with rates increasing by 71% between 1975-1977 and 2009-2011. This increase is probably due to improved diagnostic techniques and data registration, particularly in older age groups.5-8

Figure 1.2: Myeloma (C90), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Great Britain, 1975-2011

inc_asr_gb_myeloma.swf

Download this chart XLS (56KB) PPT (135KB) PDF (44KB)

Myeloma incidence trends for the UK are shown in Figure 1.3.1-4   Over the last decade (between 2000-2002 and 2009-2011), the European AS incidence rates have increased by 13% and 8% in males and females respectively. 

Figure 1.3: Myeloma (C90), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, UK, 1993-2011

inc_asr_uk_myeloma.swf

Download this chart XLS (51KB) PPT (132KB) PDF (39KB)

Myeloma rates have increased overall for all of the broad age groups in Great Britain since the mid-1970s (Figure 1.4).1-4  The largest increases have been in people aged 80+, with European AS incidence rates increasing by around 146% between 1975-1977 and 2009-2011.

Figure 1.4: Myeloma (C90), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, by Age, Great Britain, 1975-2011

inc_asr_age_p_myeloma.swf

Download this chart XLS (59KB) PPT (143KB) PDF (53KB)

section reviewed 17/04/14
section updated 17/04/14

Lifetime risk

Lifetime risk is an estimation of the risk that a newborn child has of being diagnosed with cancer at some point during their life.  It is a summary of risk in the population but genetic and lifestyle factors affect the risk of cancer and so the risk for every individual is different.

In 2010, in the UK, the lifetime risk of developing myeloma is 1 in 120 for men and 1 in 155 for women.27

The lifetime risk for myeloma has been calculated by the Statistical Information Team using the ‘Current Probability’ method; this is a different method used from most other cancer sites since the possibility of having more than one diagnosis of myeloma over the course of their lifetime is very low.28

section reviewed 24/04/13
section updated 24/04/13

 

In Europe and worldwide

Around 39,000 new cases of myeloma (C88 and C90) were diagnosed in Europe in 2012 (1% of total cancer cases). In Europe (2012), the highest World age-standardised incidence rates for myeloma are in Norway for both men and women; the lowest rates are in Albania for men and Bosnia Herzegovina for women. UK myeloma incidence rates are estimated to be the ninth highest in males in Europe, and eighth highest in females.9 These data are broadly in line with Europe-specific data available elsewhere.10

More than 114,000 new cases of myeloma (C88 and C90) were diagnosed worldwide in 2012 (0.8% of total cancer cases). Myeloma incidence rates are highest in Australia/New Zealand and lowest in Western Africa, but this partly reflects varying data quality worldwide.9

Use our interactive map to explore the data for myeloma.

Variation between countries may reflect prevalence of risk factors, use of screening, and diagnostic methods.

section reviewed 11/06/14
section updated 11/06/14

 

By socio-economic variation

The most recent England-wide data for 2000-2004 showed slightly lower myeloma incidence rates for men living in more deprived areas, though no differences were reported for women.12 In this analysis, levels of deprivation were measured according to the Income Domain of the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2007, and using information on benefit receipt as a proxy indicator for income deprivation, patients were allocated a deprivation score based on their area of residence.

Data from the Haematological Malignancy Research Network (HMRN) region for 2004-2009 showed a similar result, with lower rates of myeloma incidence in the more deprived areas for both sexes combined.13 Rather than reflecting disease aetiology, these observations are compatible with the theory that socio-economic factors impact on the likelihood of recognising symptoms (especially the non-specific symptoms common in myeloma) and seeking medical care.14,15

section reviewed 13/04/12
section updated 13/04/12

 

Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS)

Some otherwise healthy people can produce myeloma-causing cells, resulting in the asymptomatic condition MGUS. Rates of progression from MGUS to myeloma are low at around 1% per year,21 but all myeloma patients have MGUS as a precursor to their myeloma.22

Although cases of MGUS are not systematically recorded by the UK cancer registries, information on these diagnoses is routinely collected in the Haematological Malignancy Research Network (HMRN) region in the north of England. In 2004-2009 there were on average 4.9 cases of MGUS per 100,000 people per year.23 Like myeloma, MGUS is more common in men than women, with average age-standardised rates of 6.3 cases per 100,000 men and 3.5 cases per 100,000 women in the HMRN region in 2004-2010.23

UK estimates based on data from the HMRN region show that the age and sex distribution of MGUS patients is very similar to that of myeloma patients (Figure 1.5).23

Figure 1.5: Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS, ICD-O-3 9765/1), Average Number of New Cases Per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates, UK estimates based on data from HMRN region, 2004-2010

cases_crude_mgus.swf

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MGUS prevalence has been found to be twice as high in black Ghanaian men,24 and in black men of African origin living in America, compared with white men, suggesting that race-related susceptibility to MGUS and myeloma could be genetic rather than due to environmental factors.25

section reviewed 13/04/12
section updated 13/04/12

 

By ethnicity

Age-standardised rates for White males with myeloma (ICD-10 C88-C90) range from 6.1 to 6.5 per 100,000. Rates for Asian males are similar, ranging from 3.6 to 6.4 per 100,000, whereas the rates for Black males are significantly higher, ranging from 10.9 to 18.2 per 100,000. For females there is a similar pattern - the age-standardised rates for White females range from 3.9 to 4.2 per 100,000. Rates for Asian females are similar, ranging from 2.3 to 4.4 per 100,000, whereas the rates for Black females are significantly higher, ranging from 6.6 to 11.5 per 100,000.29

Ranges are given because of the analysis methodology used to account for missing and unknown data. For myeloma, 17,357 cases were identified; 18% had no known ethnicity.

A similar ethnic pattern has been observed in the UK for almost 40 years, with myeloma occurring around twice as frequently in African Americans as Caucasians.17 It appears that, in comparison with white people, black people have younger myeloma onset,18 and a higher incidence of MGUS (though no difference in progression risk).19,30 However, the reasons underpinning these ethnic differences have yet to be explained, and are currently the subject of much research.19,20

section reviewed 17/04/14
section updated 17/04/14

 

Prevalence

Prevalence refers to the number of people who have previously received a diagnosis of cancer and who are still alive at a given time point. Some patients will have been cured of their disease and others will not.

In the UK around 12,500 people were still alive at the end of 2006, up to ten years after being diagnosed with myeloma (Table 1.2).26

Table 1.2: Myeloma (C88 and C90), One-, Five- and Ten-Year Prevalence, UK, 31st December 2006

1 Year Prevalence 5 Year Prevalence 10 Year Prevalence
Male 1,595 5,247 6,921
Female 1,294 4,175 5,544
Persons 2,889 9,422 12,465

Download this table XLS (30KB) PPT (120KB) PDF (17KB)

Worldwide, it is estimated that there were more than 210,000 men and women still alive in 2008, up to five years after their diagnosis.10

section reviewed 17/05/13
section updated 17/05/13

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References for myeloma incidence

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/cancer-statistics-registrations--england--series-mb1-/index.html.

  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, May 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.isdscotland.org/Health-Topics/Cancer/Publications/index.asp.
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit on request, June 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sites3/page.cfm?orgid=242&pid=59080.
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, June 2013. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/CancerData/OnlineStatistics/.
  5. Renshaw C, Ketley N, Moller H, et al. Trends in the incidence and survival of multiple myeloma in South East England 1985-2004. BMC Cancer 2010;10:74.
  6. Kyle RA, Therneau TM, Rajkumar SV, et al. Incidence of multiple myeloma in Olmsted County, Minnesota: Trend over 6 decades. Cancer 2004;101(11):2667-74.
  7. Turesson I, Velez R, Kristinsson SY, et al. Patterns of multiple myeloma during the past 5 decades: stable incidence rates for all age groups in the population but rapidly changing age distribution in the clinic. Mayo Clin Proc 2010;85(3):225-30.
  8. Mistry M, Parkin DM, Ahmad AS, et al. Cancer incidence in the United Kingdom: projections to the year 2030. Brit J Cancer 2011;105(11):1795-803.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Ferlay J, Shin HR, Bray F, et al. GLOBOCAN 2008 v1.2, Cancer incidence and mortality worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 10 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2010. Available from: http://globocan.iarc.fr. Accessed May 2011.
  12. National Cancer Intelligence Network. Cancer incidence by deprivation England 1999-2004. London: NCIN, 2008.
  13. Smith A, Howell D, Patmore R, et al. Incidence of haematological malignancy by sub-type: a report from the Haematological Malignancy Research Network. Brit J Cancer 2011;105(11):1684-92.
  14. Waller J, Robb K, Stubbings S, et al. Awareness of cancer symptoms and anticipated help seeking among ethnic minority groups in England. Brit J Cancer 2009;101 Suppl 2:S24-30.
  15. Robb K, Stubbings S, Ramirez A, et al. Public awareness of cancer in Britain: a population-based survey of adults. Brit J Cancer 2009;101 Suppl 2:S18-23.
  16. National Cancer Intelligence Network/Cancer Research UK. Cancer incidence and survival by major ethnic group, England, 2002-2006. London: NCIN, 2009.
  17. Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, et al. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2008 (based on November 2010 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER website 2011). Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute, 2011.
  18. Waxman AJ, Mink PJ, Devesa SS, et al. Racial disparities in incidence and outcome in multiple myeloma: a population-based study. Blood 2010;116(25):5501-6.
  19. Greenberg AJ, Vachon CM, Rajkumar SV. Disparities in the prevalence, pathogenesis and progression of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance and multiple myeloma between blacks and whites. Leukemia 2011.
  20. Landgren O, Weiss BM. Patterns of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance and multiple myeloma in various ethnic/racial groups: support for genetic factors in pathogenesis. Leukemia 2009;23(10):1691-7.
  21. Kyle RA, Durie BG, Rajkumar SV, et al. Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and smoldering (asymptomatic) multiple myeloma: IMWG consensus perspectives risk factors for progression and guidelines for monitoring and management. Leukemia 2010;24(6):1121-7.
  22. Landgren O, Kyle RA, Pfeiffer RM, et al. Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) consistently precedes multiple myeloma: a prospective study.. Blood 2009;113(22):5412-17.
  23. Haematological Malignancy Research Network. Incidence. Quick Stats, 2011.
  24. Landgren O, Katzmann JA, Hsing AW, et al. Prevalence of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance among men in Ghana. Mayo Clin Proc 2007;82(12):1468-73.
  25. Wadhera RK, Rajkumar SV. Prevalence of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance: a systematic review. Mayo Clin Proc 2010;85(10):933-42.
  26. National Cancer Intelligence Network. One, Five and Ten Year Cancer Prevalence by Cancer Network, UK, 2006. London: NCIN, 2010.
  27. Lifetime risk was calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK, 2012.
  28. Esteve J, Benhamou E, Raymond L. Descriptive epidemiology [IARC Scientific Publications No.128], p 67-68. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 1994.
  29. National Cancer Intelligence Network and Cancer Research UK. Cancer Incidence and Survival by Major Ethnic Group, England, 2002-2006. 2009.
  30. Landgren O, Graubard BI, Katzmann JA, et al. Racial disparities in the prevalence of monoclonal gammopathies: a population-based study of 12 482 persons from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey. Leukemia. 2014 Jan 20.
Updated: 17 April 2014