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Prostate cancer mortality statistics

Mortality statistics for prostate cancer by country in the UK, age and trends over time are presented here. There are also data by geography and socio-economic variation. The ICD code for prostate cancer is ICD-10 C61.

The latest mortality statistics available for prostate cancer in the UK are 2011. Find out why these are the latest statistics available.


By country in the UK

Prostate cancer is the 4th most common cause of cancer death in the UK (2011), accounting for around 7% of all cancer deaths. Prostrate cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death among men (2011) in the UK, accounting for 13% of all male deaths from cancer.1-3

In 2011, there were 10,793 deaths from prostate cancer in the UK (Table 2.1).1-3 The crude mortality rate shows that there are 35 prostate cancer deaths for every 100,000 males in the UK.

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

Table 2.1: Prostate Cancer (C61), Number of Deaths, Crude and European Age-Standardised (AS) Mortality Rates per 100,000 Population, UK, 2011

England Wales Scotland Northern Ireland UK
Deaths 9,123 537 900 233 10,793
Crude Rate 34.9 35.7 35.3 26.2 34.7
AS Rate 23.8 21.9 24.5 21.7 23.7
AS Rate - 95% LCL 23.4 20.0 22.9 18.9 23.3
AS Rate - 95% UCL 24.3 23.8 26.1 24.5 24.2

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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 prostate cancer mortality rates throughout the UK reports only modest variation.4,5

section reviewed 01/11/13
section updated 01/11/13

By age

Prostate cancer mortality is strongly related to age, with the highest mortality rates being in older men. In the UK between 2009 and 2011, an average of 73% of prostate cancer deaths were in men aged 75 years and over, and more than 99% were in the 50s and over (Figure 2.1).1-3

Age-specific mortality rates rise sharply from around age 50, with the highest rates in the 85+ age group (Figure 2.1).1-3  

Figure 2.1: Prostate Cancer (C61) Average Number of Deaths Per Year and Age-Specific Mortality Rates, UK, 2009-2011


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section reviewed 01/11/13
section updated 01/11/13


Trends over time

Prostate cancer mortality rates have increased overall in the UK since the early 1970s (Figure 2.2).1-3 The European AS mortality rates remained fairly stable during the 1970s, but then increased by 41% between 1979-1981 and 1992-1994, and decreased by 19% between 1992-1994 and 2009-2011. Over the last decade (between 2000-2002 and 2009-2011), the European AS mortality rates have decreased by 11%.

The impact of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing makes it difficult to untangle the reasons behind the decrease in mortality; however, improvements in treatment (including radical prostatectomy, adjuvant hormone therapy, and radiotherapy), as well as earlier diagnosis (often as a result of PSA testing), are thought to have contributed to the trend.6-8 In the US, where PSA testing is used much more widely than in the UK, it has been suggested that PSA testing led to an artefactual increase in mortality rates (as deaths in men with latent, non-lethal prostate tumours diagnosed through PSA testing were erroneously attributed to the prostate cancer), and so the subsequent decrease in mortality rates may just represent a return to the background trend that would have been observed if PSA testing had not been used; however this explanation seems less likely for the UK.9-14

Figure 2.2: Prostate Cancer (C61), European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, UK, 1971-2011 


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Prostate cancer mortality rates have increased overall for most of the broad age groups in the UK since the early 1970s (Figure 2.3).1-3 The largest increases have been in men aged 85 and over, with European AS mortality rates increasing by around two-thirds (66%) between 1971-1973 and 2009-2011. 

For men aged between 45 and 84, the European AS mortality rates increased from the early 1970s to the late 1980s or early 1990s, and then decreased thereafter such that in 2009-2011 the rates are either slightly above or similar to what they were in the early 1970s. Some studies have shown that older men are less likely to receive radical treatment;10,15,16 this may partly explain why the decrease seen in these younger groups is not seen in men aged 85 and over. 

Figure 2.3: Prostate Cancer (C61), European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, By Age, UK, 1971-2011


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section reviewed 01/11/13
section updated 01/11/13


In Europe and worldwide

Worldwide cancer mortality data are collated and distributed by the World Health Organisation.17 Like with the collation of incidence data, there is wide variation in the coverage of death registration systems across the world, with two-thirds of the world’s populations living in regions that are not covered by mortality statistics, as well as variation in the quality of the cause of death information itself.18 Nonetheless, the International Agency for Research on Cancer routinely uses the available data to estimate worldwide cancer mortality.19

Prostate cancer is the sixth most common cause of cancer death in men worldwide (ninth in both sexes combined), estimated to be responsible for almost 258,000 deaths in 2008 (more than 3% of the total for both sexes combined). Since PSA testing is likely to have a much greater effect on prostate cancer incidence than on mortality, there is much less variation in mortality rates between the more and less developed regions of the world (11 and 6 per 100,000 in 2008, respectively) compared with incidence rates (62 and 12 per 100,000, respectively). Prostate cancer mortality rates are highest in the Caribbean and lowest in Eastern and South-Central Asia, with around ten-fold variation in World AS mortality rates between the regions of the world (Figure 2.4).19

Figure 2.4: Prostate Cancer (C61), World Age-Standardised Incidence and Mortality Rates, World Regions, 2008 Estimates


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Within the 27 countries of the European Union (EU-27), the highest prostate cancer European AS mortality rates for 2008 are estimated to be in Estonia (37 deaths per 100,000 men) and the lowest in Malta (12 deaths per 100,000 men) (Figure 2.5).20

Figure 2.5: Prostate Cancer (C61), European Age-Standardised Incidence and Mortality Rates, EU-27 countries, 2008 Estimates


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The UK prostate cancer mortality rate is estimated to be the 9th highest in Europe (EU-27).20

section reviewed 25/06/12
section updated 25/06/12

By socio-economic variation

There is evidence of a small association of prostate cancer mortality with deprivation. European AS mortality rates are reported to be around 13% higher for men living in the least deprived areas of England and Wales as compared with the most deprived,21 though a similar relationship has not been reported in Scotland or Northern Ireland.22,23 This is in contrast to prostate cancer incidence, which shows a much stronger association with deprivation.22,23

section reviewed 25/06/12
section updated 25/06/12

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References for prostate cancer mortality

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, March 2013. Similar data can be found here:
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, November 2012. Similar data can be found here:
  3. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, May 2013. Similar data can be found here:
  4. NCIN. Cancer Incidence and Mortality by Cancer Network, UK, 2005. London: NCIN; 2008.
  5. NCIN. Cancer e-Atlas. European Age-Standardised Mortality Rates, UK (England: former Primary Care Trusts; Wales; Scotland: NHS Health Boards; Northern Ireland: Health and Social Care Trusts), 2009-2011.
  6. Etzioni R, Durand-Zaleski I, Lansdorp-Vogelaar I. Evaluation of new technologies for cancer control based on population trends in disease incidence and mortality. J Natl Cancer Inst Monogr 2013;2013(46):117-23.
  7. Hanchanale VS, McCabe JE, Javlé P. Radical prostatectomy practice in England. Urol J 2010;7(4):243-8.
  8. NCIN. Mortality from prostate cancer. London: NCIN; 2012.
  9. Hankey BF, Feuer EJ, Clegg LX, et al. Cancer Surveillance Series: Interpreting Trends in Prostate Cancer-Part I: Evidence of the Effects of Screening in recent Prostate Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Survival Rates. JNCI, 1999 91(12): p. 1017-24.
  10. Feuer EJ, Merrill RM, Hankey BF. Cancer Surveillance Series: Interpreting Trends in Prostate Cancer-Part II: Cause of Death Misclassification and the Recent Rise and Fall in Prostate Cancer Mortality. JNCI, 1999. 91(12): p. 1025-32.
  11. Etzioni R, Legler JM, Feuer EJ, et al. Cancer surveillance series: interpreting trends in prostate cancer--part III: Quantifying the link between population prostate-specific antigen testing and recent declines in prostate cancer mortality. JNCI, 1999. 91(12): p. 1033-39
  12. Hussain S, Gunnell D, Donovan J, et al. Secular trends in prostate cancer mortality, incidence and treatment: England and Wales, 1975-2004. BJU Int, 2008. 101(5): p. 547-55
  13. Andriole GL, Crawford ED, Grubb RL, et al. Mortality Results from a Randomized Prostate-Cancer Screening Trial. N Engl J Med, 2009. 360 (13): p. 1310-19
  14. Schroder FH, Hugosson J, Roobol MJ, et al. Screening and Prostate-Cancer Mortality in a Randomized European Study N Engl J Med, 2009. 360(13): p. 1320-28
  15. Fairley L, Baker M, Whiteway J, et al. Trends in non-metastatic prostate cancer management in the Northern and Yorkshire region of England 2000-2006. Br J Cancer, 2009. 101(11): p 1839-45.
  16. Lyratzopoulos G, Barbiere JM, Greenberg DC, et al. Population based time trends and socioeconomic variation in use of radiotherapy and radical surgery for prostate cancer in a UK region: continuous survey BMJ, 2010. 340:c1928.
  17. World Health Organisation.Global Health Observatory Data Repository.
  18. Ferlay J, Shin HR, Bray F, et al. Estimates of worldwide burden of cancer in 2008: GLOBOCAN 2008. Int J Cancer 2010;127:2893-917
  19. 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 Accessed May 2011.
  20. 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. Int J Cancer 2010;127:2893-917
  21. Romeri E, Baker A, Griffiths C. Mortality by deprivation and cause of death in England and Wales, 1999-2003 National Statistics., Health Statistics Quarterly Winter 2006.
  22. ISD Scotland. Prostate cancer. Accessed June 2012.
  23. Fitzpatrick D, Gavin A, Middleton R, et al. Cancer in Northern Ireland 1993-2001: A Comprehensive Report. N. Ireland Cancer Registry, Belfast.
Updated: 1 November 2013