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Pancreatic cancer incidence statistics

Incidence statistics for pancreatic cancer by country in the UK, age and trends over time are presented here. There are also data on lifetime risk, morphology, geography and prevalence. The ICD code for pancreatic cancer is ICD-10 C25.

The latest incidence statistics available for pancreatic cancer in the UK are 2010. Find out why these are the latest statistics available.

By country in the UK

Pancreatic cancer is the 10th most common cancer in the UK (2010), accounting for 3% of all new cases. In males, it is the 12th most common cancer (3% of the male total), and the 8th in females (3%).1-4

In 2010, there were 8,463 new cases of pancreatic cancer in the UK (Table 1.1): 4,189 (49%) in men and 4,274 (51%) in women, giving a male:female ratio of almost 1:1.1-4 The crude incidence rate shows that there are 14 new pancreatic cancer cases for every 100,000 males in the UK, and 14 for every 100,000 females.

The European age-standardised incidence rates (AS rates) do not differ significantly for males and females between the constituent countries of the UK (Table 1.1).1-4 However, European AS rates are significantly higher in persons in Wales than in the rest of the UK. 

Table 1.1: Pancreatic Cancer (C25), Number of New Cases, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Incidence Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2010

England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland UK
Male Cases 3,497 260 343 89 4,189
Crude Rate 13.6 17.7 13.6 10.1 13.7
AS Rate 10.6 12.1 10.4 8.9 10.6
AS Rate - 95% LCL 10.2 10.6 9.3 7.1 10.3
AS Rate - 95% UCL 10.9 13.6 11.4 10.8 10.9
Female Cases 3,561 260 353 100 4,274
Crude Rate 13.4 16.9 13.1 10.9 13.5
AS Rate 8.4 9.6 7.9 7.5 8.4
AS Rate - 95% LCL 8.1 8.4 7.1 6.0 8.1
AS Rate - 95% UCL 8.7 10.8 8.8 9.0 8.6
Persons Cases 7,058 520 696 189 8,463
Crude Rate 13.5 17.3 13.3 10.5 13.6
AS Rate 9.4 10.8 9.0 8.2 9.4
AS Rate - 95% LCL 9.2 9.9 8.3 7.0 9.2
AS Rate - 95% UCL 9.6 11.7 9.7 9.3 9.6

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

The latest analysis of pancreatic cancer incidence rates throughout the UK, based on data for 2006-2008, reports only modest variation between cancer networks.5,6

section reviewed 18/10/13
section updated 18/10/13

 

By age

Pancreatic cancer incidence is strongly related to age, with the highest incidence rates being in older men and women. In the UK between 2008 and 2010, an average of around 75% of cases were diagnosed in men and women aged 65 years and over, and 96% of cases were diagnosed in those aged 50 years and over (Figure 1.1).1-4

Age-specific incidence rates rise sharply from around age 50-54 years, with the highest rates in the 85+ age group. Incidence rates are higher for males than for females and this gap is widest between the ages of 55 and 59 years, when the male:female ratio of age-specific rates (to account for the different proportions of males to females in each age group) is almost 16:10. (Figure 1:1).1-4

Figure 1.1: Pancreatic Cancer (C25), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates, UK, 2008-2010

cases_crude_pancreas.swf

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section reviewed 18/10/13
section updated 18/10/13

 

Trends over time

Pancreatic cancer incidence rates in persons have remained stable overall in Great Britain since the mid-1970s (Figure 1.2).1-3

For males, European AS incidence rates decreased by 10% between 1975-1977 and 2008-2010. Male European AS rates decreased up until the mid-1990s, and have since remained relatively stable (Figure 1.2).1-3  The decrease for males partly reflects the decline in smoking prevalence, as smoking accounts for around 29% of pancreatic cancer cases in the UK

For females, rates increased by 14% overall between 1975-1977 and 2008-2010. This increase in rates has not been consistent. Rates were relatively stable throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The increases in rates occurred between the mid-1970s to the start of the 1980s and then since the early 2000s there has been another small increase (Figure 1.2).1-3

Figure 1.2: Pancreatic Cancer (C25), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Great Britain, 1975-2010

inc_asr_gb_pancreas.swf

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Pancreatic cancer incidence trends for the UK are shown in Figure 1.3.1-4 Over the last decade (between 1999-2001 and 2008-2010), the European AS incidence rates for females in the UK have increased by 7% while rates for males have remained relatively stable.

Figure 1.3: Pancreatic Cancer (C25), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, UK, 1993-2010

inc_asr_uk_pancreas.swf

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For males aged between 60 and 79 years there has been a decrease in European AS incidence rates since the mid-1970s (Figure 1.4).1-3 The largest decrease in incidence rates is for those aged between 70 and 79 years, where the incidence rate decreased by 13% between 1975-1977 and 2008-2010. 

For males aged 80+ rates initially increased by 16% between 1975-1977 and 1978-1980 and have since decreased by 15% between 1978-1980 and 2008-2010, with rates now similar to those in the mid-1970s. 

Rates in males aged under 60 years have remained stable since the mid-1970s. 

Figure 1.4: Pancreatic Cancer (C25), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Males by Age, Great Britain, 1975-2010

inc_asr_age_m_pancreas.swf

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For females aged 60 years and over, there has been an increase in European AS incidence rates in Great Britain since the mid-1970s (Figure 1.5).1-3 The largest increase has been in females aged 80 years and over where rates have increased by 22% between 1975-1977 and 2008-2010. 

Rates in females aged under 60 years have remained stable since the mid-1970s. 

Figure 1.5: Pancreatic Cancer (C25), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Females by Age, Great Britain, 1975-2010

inc_asr_age_f_pancreas.swf

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section reviewed 18/10/13
section updated 18/10/13

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 pancreatic cancer is 1 in 73 for men and 1 in 74 for women.7

The lifetime risk for pancreatic 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 pancreatic over the course of their lifetime is very low.8

section reviewed 25/04/13
section updated 25/04/13

 

Morphology

Around 95% of pancreatic tumours are adenocarcinomas, originating from the exocrine (digestive enzyme-producing) part of the pancreas. Nearly all of these are ductal adenocarcinomas.

There are also three rarer types of exocrine pancreatic cancer, for which the treatment followed is more or less the same as for ductal adenocarcinoma. Endocrine tumours of the pancreas exist too, arising from the islets of Langerhans (which produce several hormones including insulin), but are rare.9

section reviewed 31/12/09
section updated 31/12/09

In Europe and worldwide

It is estimated that around 70,000 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the countries of the European Union in 2008. The highest incidence of pancreatic cancer in the countries of the European Union is found in males in Hungary and the Czech Republic. The highest rates among females occur in the Czech Republic and Finland as shown in Figure 1.610

Figure 1.6: Pancreatic cancer (C25), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, EU-27 Countries, 2008 Estimates

EU27_inc_pancreas.swf

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An estimated 279,000 cases of pancreatic cancer were diagnosed worldwide in 2008. Europe and Northern America have the highest incidence of pancreatic cancer, with particularly high rates in males in Central and Eastern Europe. The lowest incidence rates are found in Asia and Africa as shown in Figure 1.7.11

Figure 1.7: Pancreatic cancer (C25), World Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, World Regions, 2008 Estimates

world_inc_pancreas.swf

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section reviewed 12/08/11
section updated 12/08/11

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 4,300 people were still alive at the end of 2006, up to ten years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (Table 1.2).12

Table 1.2: Pancreatic Cancer (C25), One, Five and Ten Year Cancer Prevalence, UK, 31st December 2006

1 Year Prevalence 5 Year Prevalence 10 Year Prevalence
Male 1,186 1,898 2,205
Female 1,221 1,886 2,144
Persons 2,407 3,784 4,349

Download this table XLS (30KB) PPT (121KB) PDF (103KB)

Worldwide, it is estimated that there were more than 172,000 men and women still alive in 2008, up to five years after their diagnosis.11

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

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References for pancreatic cancer incidence

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, June 2012. 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, April 2012. 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, April 2012. 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, October 2012. Similar data can be found here: http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/nicr/CancerData/OnlineStatistics/.
  5. National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN). Cancer Incidence and Mortality by Cancer Network, UK, 2005. London: NCIN; 2008.
  6. NCIN. Cancer e-Atlas. Accessed July 2013.
  7. Lifetime risk was calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK, 2012.
  8. Esteve J, Benhamou E and Raymond L. Descriptive epidemiology (IARC Scientific Publications No. 128, p67-68: Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 1994.
  9. Adami HO, Hunter D, Trichopoulos D. Textbook of Cancer Epidemiology. Vol 1. 2002, Oxford University Press: New York.
  10. European age-standardised rates calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK, 2011 using data from GLOBOCAN 2008 v1.2, IARC. version 1.2. http://globocan.iarc.fr.
  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 July 2013.
  12. National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN). One, Five and Ten Year Cancer Prevalence. London, NCIN; 2010.

 

Updated: 18 October 2013