Cancer Research UK on Google+ Cancer Research UK on Facebook Cancer Research UK on Twitter

Stomach cancer incidence statistics

Incidence statistics for stomach cancer by country in the UK, age and trends over time are presented here. There are also data on lifetime risk, morphology, geography, socio-economic variation and prevalence. 

Find out more about the coding and counting of this data


By country in the UK

Stomach cancer is the 15th most common cancer in the UK (2011), accounting for 2% of all new cases. In males it is the 11th most common cancer (3% of the male total), while it is the 15th in females (2%).1-4

In 2011, there were 7,089 new cases of stomach cancer in the UK (Table 1.1): 4,615 (65%) in men and 2,474 (35%) in women, giving a male:female ratio of nearly 19:10.1-4 The crude incidence rate shows that there are 15 new stomach cancer cases for every 100,000 males in the UK, and 8 for every 100,000 females. 

The European age-standardised incidence rate (AS rate) is significantly lower for males in England than the other constituent countries of the UK. For females, rates are significantly lower in England compared with Scotland and Northern Ireland (Table 1.1).1-4 However, the rates do not differ significantly between the other countries for either sex.

Table 1.1: Stomach Cancer (C16), 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 3,729 320 422 144 4,615
Crude Rate 14.3 21.3 16.6 16.2 14.9
AS Rate 10.8 14.6 12.4 14.2 11.2
AS Rate - 95% LCL 10.5 13.0 11.2 11.8 10.9
AS Rate - 95% UCL 11.2 16.3 13.5 16.5 11.6
Female Cases 1,952 151 279 92 2,474
Crude Rate 7.2 9.7 10.3 9.9 7.7
AS Rate 4.4 5.2 6.1 6.5 4.7
AS Rate - 95% LCL 4.2 4.4 5.3 5.2 4.5
AS Rate - 95% UCL 4.6 6.1 6.8 7.9 4.8
Persons Cases 5,681 471 701 236 7,089
Crude Rate 10.7 15.4 13.3 13.0 11.2
AS Rate 7.3 9.5 8.9 10.1 7.6
AS Rate - 95% LCL 7.1 8.6 8.2 8.8 7.5
AS Rate - 95% UCL 7.5 10.3 9.5 11.4 7.8

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

Stomach cancer incidence in the UK has been highest in the north of England, Wales and Scotland since at least the 1990s.5 The latest analysis of stomach cancer incidence rates throughout the UK still reports significant variation between cancer networks, with higher than average rates in the north of England and the West Midlands, Wales, Northern Ireland and parts of Scotland.6,7

section reviewed 30/04/14
section updated 30/04/14


By age

Stomach cancer 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 51% cases were diagnosed in men and women aged 75 and over (Figure 1.1).1-4

Age-specific incidence rates rise sharply from around age 60-64, with the highest rates in the 85+ age group. Incidence rates are higher for males than for females in those aged 35 and over (in the younger age groups the sex difference is not significant) and this gap is widest between the ages of 65 and 69, when the male:female incidence ratio of age-specific rates (to account for the different proportions of males to females in each age group) is around 29:10. (Figure 1.1).1-4

Figure 1.1: Stomach Cancer (C16), Average Number of New Cases per Year and Age-Specific Incidence Rates, UK, 2008-2011


Download this chart XLS (58KB) PPT (137KB) PDF (336KB)

section reviewed 30/04/14
section updated 30/04/14


Trends over time

Stomach cancer incidence rates have decreased overall in Great Britain since the mid-1970s (Figure 1.2).1-3 For males, European AS incidence rates decreased by 61% between 1975-1977 and 2009-2011. The decline is slightly bigger for women, with rates decreasing by 65% between 1975-1977 and 2009-2011.

Much of this decrease can be attributed to declining prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection (a major cause of stomach cancer), and increased fresh food in the diet (and use of refrigeration rather than salting for food preservation).8,9,21,22 This overall trend masks a rise in incidence of cancers in the cardia over the last 30 years in many developed countries, particularly in males, although rates have begun to decline in England since the late 1990s.21,23

Figure 1.2: Stomach Cancer (C16), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Great Britain, 1975-2011


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

Stomach cancer 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 decreased by 32% and 28% in males and females, respectively.

Figure 1.3: Stomach Cancer (C16), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, UK, 1993-2011


Download this chart XLS (52KB) PPT (133KB) PDF (40KB)

Stomach cancer incidence rates have decreased overall for all of the broad age groups in Great Britain since the mid-1970s (Figure 1.4).1-3 The largest decreases have been in people aged 60-69, with European AS incidence rates decreasing by more than two thirds (69%) between 1975-1977 and 2009-2011. 

Figure 1.4: Stomach Cancer (C16), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Persons, by Age, Great Britain, 1975-2011


Download this chart XLS (59KB) PPT (143KB) PDF (52KB)

section reviewed 30/04/14
section updated 30/04/14

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 stomach cancer is 1 in 64 for men and 1 in 120 for women.10

The lifetime risk for stomach cancer has been calculated by the Statistical Information Team using the ‘Adjusted for Multiple Primaries’ (AMP) method; this accounts for the possibility that someone can have more than one diagnosis of stomach cancer over the course of their lifetime.11

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


By morphology

Most stomach cancers (around 95%) are adenocarcinomas which may be further classified into 'intestinal' and 'diffuse' type.

'Intestinal' adenocarcinomas are associated with a history of atrophic gastritis, have better survival and are associated with older patients, whereas the 'diffuse' adenocarcinomas are more common, with poorer survival and occur more frequently in women and people with blood group 'A'.12

Other stomach malignant histologies include lymphomas and leiomyosarcomas.

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


In Europe and worldwide

Stomach cancer is the sixth most common cancer in Europe, with more than 139,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012 (4% of the total). In Europe (2012), the highest World age-standardised incidence rates for stomach cancer are in Belarus for men and Albania for women; the lowest rates are in Sweden for both men and women. UK stomach cancer incidence rates are estimated to be the fifth lowest in males in Europe, and fourth lowest in females.13 These data are broadly in line with Europe-specific data available elsewhere.14

Stomach cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide, with more than 951,000 new cases diagnosed in 2012 (7% of the total). Stomach cancer incidence rates are highest in Eastern Asia and lowest in Western Africa, but this partly reflects varying data quality worldwide.13

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

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

section reviewed 12/06/14
section updated 12/06/14


By socio-economic variation

Incidence and mortality from stomach cancer are strongly related to social class and measures of deprivation, with higher rates in socially and economically deprived groups.15

Using Carstairs deprivation scores (a score of material deprivation derived from four census variables - car ownership, household overcrowding, head of household in social class IV or V and male unemployment), the incidence and mortality rates in England and Wales are about twice as high in the most deprived groups compared to the least deprived.16 Recent data for England for 2000-2004 show this relationship persists, with the most deprived having European age-standardised rates of 14.6 per 100,000 compared with 8.0 for the least deprived.17

A strong association with social deprivation is also reported for Scotland (Figure 1.5).18

Figure 1.5: Age-standardised incidence and mortality, cause-specific five-year survival by deprivation quintile, stomach cancer, Scotland, patients diagnosed 1991-1995


The rates in Figure 1.7 are standardised to the European population

Download this chart (38.0KB)

section reviewed 16/09/11
section updated 16/09/11

By ethnicity

Age-standardised rates for White males with stomach cancer range from 14.1 to 14.7 per 100,000. Rates for Asian males are significantly lower, ranging from 5.2 to 8.5 per 100,000 whereas rates for Black males are significantly higher, ranging from 16.1 to 25.6 per 100,000. For females there is a similar pattern - the age-standardised rates for White females range from 5.5 to 5.8 per 100,000, while rates for Asian females are significantly lower, ranging from 2.7 to 5.0 per 100,000, and the rates for Black females are significantly higher ranging from 6.5 to 11.9 per 100,000.20

Ranges are given because of the analysis methodology used to account for missing and unknown data. For stomach cancer, 33,789 cases were identified; 18% had no known ethnicity.

section reviewed 30/04/14
section updated 30/04/14


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 13,400 people were still alive at the end of 2006, up to ten years after being diagnosed with stomach cancer (Table 1.2).19

Table 1.2: Stomach Cancer (C16), One, Five and Ten Year Cancer Prevalence, UK, 31st December 2006

1 Year Prevalence 5 Year Prevalence 10 Year Prevalence
Male 2,608 6,160 8,587
Female 1,337 3,322 4,765
Persons 3,945 9,482 13,352

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

Worldwide, it is estimated that there were around 1.60 million men and women still alive in 2008, up to five years after their diagnosis.13

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

No Error

Rate this page:
Submit rating
Rate this page
Rate this page for no comments box
Please enter feedback to continue submitting
Send feedback
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team

Visit our A-Z topic pages


References for stomach cancer incidence

  1. Data were provided by the Office for National Statistics on request, July 2013. Similar data can be found here:
  2. Data were provided by ISD Scotland on request, May 2013. Similar data can be found here:
  3. Data were provided by the Welsh Cancer Intelligence and Surveillance Unit on request, June 2013. Similar data can be found here:
  4. Data were provided by the Northern Ireland Cancer Registry on request, June 2013. Similar data can be found here:
  5. Quinn M, Wood H, Cooper N, et al, eds. Cancer Atlas of the United Kingdom and Ireland 1991–2000. Studies on Medical and Population Subjects No. 68. London: ONS; 2005.
  6. NCIN. Cancer Incidence and Mortality by Cancer Network, UK, 2005. London: NCIN; 2008.
  7. NCIN. Cancer e-Atlas. Accessed January 2014
  8. Vyse AJ, Gay NJ, Hesketh LM, et al. The burden of Helicobacter pylori infection in England and Wales. Epidemiol Infect 2002;128:411-7.
  9. NCIN. Incidence of stomach cancer in England, 1998-2007. London: NCIN; 2010.
  10. Lifetime risk was calculated by the Statistical Information Team at Cancer Research UK, 2012.
  11. Cancer Research UK Statistical Information Team. Statistics on the risk of developing cancer, by cancer type and age. Calculated using 2008 data for the UK using the ‘Adjusted for Multiple Primaries (AMP)’ method (Sasieni PD, Shelton J, Ormiston-Smith N, Thomson CS, Silcocks PB. What is the lifetime risk of developing cancer?: The effect of adjusting for multiple primaries. Br J Cancer 2011. 105(3): 460-5).
  12. Souhami R, Tobias J. Cancer and its management. Fifth Edition. Oxford: Blackwell Science Ltd. 2005.
  13. 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:, accessed December 2013.
  14. 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.
  15. Quinn M, Cooper N, Rowan S. Cancer Atlas of the United Kingdom and Ireland 1991-2000. Office for National Statistics, 2005.
  16. Quinn M, Babb P, Brock A, et al. Cancer Trends in England & Wales 1950-1999 (PDF 5897KB) SMPS No. 66: TSO, 2001.
  17. National Cancer Intelligence Network. Cancer Incidence by Deprivation, England 1995-2004. London: NCIN; 2008.
  18. Scottish Cancer Intelligence Unit (2000). Trends in Cancer Survival in Scotland 1971-1995. Edinburgh: Information and Statistics Division.
  19. National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN). One, Five and Ten Year Cancer Prevalence. London: NCIN; 2010.
  20. National Cancer Intelligence Network and Cancer Research UK. Cancer Incidence and Survival by Major Ethnic Group, England, 2002-2006. 2009.
  21. Coupland VH, Allum W, Blazeby JM, et al. Incidence and survival of oesophageal and gastric cancer in England between 1998 and 2007, a population-based study. BMC Cancer 2012;12:11.
  22. Tsugane S. Salt, Salted food intake, and risk of gastric cancer: epidemiologic evidence. Cancer Sci 2005;96:1-6.
  23. Newnham A, Quinn MJ, Babb P, et al. Trends in the subsite and morphology of oesophageal and gastric cancer in England and Wales 1971-1998. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2003;17:665-76.
Updated: 30 April 2014